Dr Peter Saunders, the Campaign Director at Care Not Killing, has said that Parliament are concerned changes to the law on assisted suicide would allow for “pressure” on “vulnerable people to end their lives”.
A terminally-ill man has lost his legal battle to the right to end his life.
Noel Conway, 68, suffers from motor neurone disease and lost his challenge at the Court of Appeal in June after his case was rejected by the High Court.
Dr Saunders told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “Parliament has always been of the view that a change in the law to allow assisted suicide or euthanasia of any form would inevitably mean that pressure would then be brought onto vulnerable people to end their lives.”
“It was shown a few years ago that when people hear the five main arguments against changing the law, 75% for changes to 43%.
“So a lot of this is about people not being properly informed about the consequences.”
He added: “There will always be a small number of people who will be determined to go down this route.
“Even those with motor neurone disease – there are about 5,000 people in the UK – but is only a very small minute proportion of those who ever want assisted suicide or euthanasia.”
Helping someone kill themselves is currently a criminal offence carrying a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison, according to Section 2 of the 1961 Suicide Act.
'It will not be the end of the issue'
Noel Conway, who has motor neurone disease, lost his legal battle to the right to end his own life.
Dr Saunders added that Mr Conway’s defeat would not be the end of the debate surrounding assisted suicide.
“We have seen 11 attempts to change the law through British Parliament in the last twelve years or so,” he said.
“Every one of them has been defeated and the most recent one in 2015 was beaten by an overwhelming majority.
“This is why groups like Dignity in Dying have drawn attention to the courts in the hope of getting a ruling there.
“Mr Conway has been to the High Court last year, and the Court of Appeal this year and he has now lost at both of those levels.
“He attempted to get a Supreme Court hearing this time and the judges ruled against that.
“That is the end of the road for Noel Conway but I suspect it won’t be the end of the issue because we have been debating it for many years.