Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey argues that assisted dying should be legalised 


Why we should help the terminally ill to die: Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey argues that assisted dying should be legalised

  • Lord George Carey, 85, has argued that assisted dying should be legalised
  • The former Archbishop of Canterbury said there is ‘nothing holy about agony’
  • The senior cleric outlined his position in essay for the British Medical Journal
  • Poll found 82% of Christians supported assisted dying for terminally ill people










A former Archbishop of Canterbury has argued that assisted dying should be legalised and says there is ‘nothing holy about agony’.

Lord Carey said letting terminally ill patients die ‘as well as possible’ is a ‘compassionate and religious’ approach and better than making them suffer.

There is nothing in the scripture that directly prohibits assisted dying and it is a myth that all religious people are opposed to it, he added.

Lord Carey (pictured in March 2017) said letting terminally ill patients die 'as well as possible' is a 'compassionate and religious' approach and better than making them suffer

Lord Carey (pictured in March 2017) said letting terminally ill patients die ‘as well as possible’ is a ‘compassionate and religious’ approach and better than making them suffer

The senior cleric, who held the top job in the Anglican church from 1991 to 2002, has outlined his position in an essay for the British Medical Journal. 

The essay is jointly written by Rabbi Jonathan Romain, who leads a new religious alliance in support of doctor assisted dying alongside Lord Carey, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Reverend Canon Rosie Harper.

The authors also highlight a 2019 poll that found 84 per cent of the British public, 82 per cent of Christians and 80 per cent of religious people overall supported assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults. Currently all forms of assisted dying are illegal in the UK.

The essay comes as Parliament considers a bill that would permit doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs for dying and mentally sound patients to take themselves.

The senior cleric (pictured in January 2004), who held the top job in the Anglican church from 1991 to 2002, has outlined his position in an essay for the British Medical Journal

The senior cleric (pictured in January 2004), who held the top job in the Anglican church from 1991 to 2002, has outlined his position in an essay for the British Medical Journal

The British Medical Association, which represents doctors and opposes legalisation, will also debate the issue at its annual conference later this month.

A recent BMA survey showed that more doctors support a law change (50 per cent) than oppose it (39 per cent).

Around 14 per cent of suicides in the UK are among those with terminal or chronic illness and almost 50 British citizens a year seek help to die in Switzerland where assisted dying is legal as long as it is not for ‘selfish motives’.

A Church of England spokesman said its position remains to ‘affirm the intrinsic value of every human life’ and supports the current law on assisted dying. 

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