Chief Rabbi casts doubt on Assisted Dying Bill with other faith leaders
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Chief Rabbi casts doubt on Assisted Dying Bill with other faith leaders

Chief Rabbi Mirvis.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said the proposed Assisted Dying Bill would do more harm than good, in a letter jointly signed with other faith leaders. 

Chief Rabbi Mirvis.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis.

Together with Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, Mirvis said the Bill “would put at risk many more vulnerable people than it seeks to help”.

The law, proposed by Lord Falconer and due to be debated in parliament this month, would allow terminally ill but mentally competent adults to request life-ending medication from a doctor. The dying patient would then have the choice to self-administer that medication at a time of their choosing.

In the letter signed by Mirvis and published in The Observer this weekend, the chief rabbi argues that it could be the start of a slippery slope, whereby people felt that they should choose to kill themselves.

“It has the potential to have a significant impact on other vulnerable individuals, those who believe that they have become burdens to family and carers and feel under pressure within themselves to ‘do the decent thing,’” said the signatories.

“Some 500,000 elderly people are abused each year, most by family members, often for financial reasons. Many of these would also be vulnerable to pressure to end their lives prematurely.”

Some privately back the bill, with one prominent London rabbi saying that when he brought this up with shul members, he found he was “pushing at an open door”. Others, including progressive rabbis, have backed the right of the terminally ill to request help to die, with Reform Rabbi Jonathan Romain saying: “We believe in the sanctity of life but not the sanctity of suffering.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments