13 NOVEMBER 1936, Page 3

A Euthanasia Bill There is little possibility that the Bill

on Euthanasia, which Lord Ponsonby is introducing in the House of Lords, will pass into law, but it will give an excellent opportunity for a valuable discussion. The Bill, which was to have. been introduced by the late Lord Moynihan, gives to persons over twenty-one, of sound mind, suffering from incurable and fatal disease, the right to apply for euthanasia, on an official form, in the presence of two witnesses. The application, together with two doctors' certificates, would be examined by a paid- referee appointed by the Ministry of Health, and, if it were allowed, painless death would be administered by a specially licensed medical practitioner in the presence of two witnesses, Obviously the feelings of relatives must be a factor in the decision. The Bill will not be passed ; but it will be interesting to know the reasons given against shortening life to relieve suffering, when the right to do so is already admitted, in the cases of war and capital punishment, to defend the State or punish crime. But even if the right were admitted, it could be exercised only if restricted by as many safeguards as sur- round the judge giving sentence of death.

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