The BBC: "cheerleader" for assisted suicide

The article BBC in denial over its assisted-suicide cheerleading by Alistair Thompson is important reading. When we discuss assisted suicide with good and thoughtful people, it can seem as though somebody else has got there first. Not being a fan of the BBC, I haven't noticed the insidious propaganda campaign that it has been waging recently in favour of changing the law to permit euthanasia (let's be honest, that is what we are talking about in the debate on assisted suicide.)

And it is a propaganda campaign. The BBC is not some johnny-come-lately internet upstart, it is an organisation with decades of experience in exactly how to form public opinion. Good honest people rely on the BBC to give balanced coverage of such a sensitive issue. The bias with which it covers such an important issue as assisted suicide is all the more pernicious when the organisation is so trusted.

Fundamentally, we appeal to natural law - deep down we all know that human life is a good, that suicide is wrong and that it is wrong to help someone to commit suicide. It is even more wrong for a doctor to help someone to commit suicide because doctors, of all people, should help their patients to survive. However in talking to those who are influenced by the BBC and others, it is also important to bring forward other arguments.

The BBC coverage and other pro-euthanasia propaganda influences the conscience of good people to wonder whether it is better to allow assisted suicide than to have people dying in terrible pain. Those who actually work in end of life care, the care of the elderly, and psychiatric care, have always insisted that the most important question is the provision of palliative care.
"Patient autonomy is an illusion when physicians are not trained to assess and treat patient suffering. The choice for patients then becomes continued agony or a hastened death. Most physicians do not have such training. We have only recently recognized the need to train general physicians in palliative care, training that teaches them how to relieve the suffering of patients with serious, life-threatening illnesses. Studies show that the less physicians know about palliative care, the more they favor assisted suicide or euthanasia; the more they know, the less they favor it." (Psychiatric Times. The Case Against Physician-Assisted Suicide: For the Right to End-of-Life Care. by Herbert Hendin, MD. February 1, 2004)
The agonising choice for patients and their relatives between pain and a quick death is the result of a failure to offer the alternative of palliative care that actually relieves pain. Sadly, we know that such a dilemma can also be manipulated by carers or relatives who are less scrupulous, and for baser motives wish to be rid of an elderly person who is a "burden" or whose death promises some benefits to their survivors. The fear of being a burden is actually more prominent as a reason for requesting assisted suicide than the fear of pain. As Thompson puts it:
"Even more troubling are the reasons why people are choosing to kill themselves. In Washington figures from 2017 reveal 56 per cent of them said that they feared being a burden on family, friends/caregivers. Figures from Oregon were almost identical at 55.2 per cent."
The promotion of assisted suicide by the BBC and others will make the elderly, the terminally ill, the disabled, and others who might feel themselves a burden, to feel that they really ought to get out of the way by opting for assisted suicide. The right to die will rapidly become a duty to die.

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