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The many flaws in Falconer assisted dying report

You asked for readers' opinions on Lord Falconer's assisted dying commission (News, January 6). I wonder do your readers know how unbalanced this report actually is?

It was claimed as an impartial report, yet it was 'suggested' by Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) and financed by one of its members, Sir Terry Pratchett.

Nine of the 11 members of the commission are actively pro-euthaniasia and 46 organisations and individuals - including the BMA - refused to take part, or be involved in any way, due to the obvious bias of the members.

The commission ran out of people willing to take part half-way through and had to resort to writing to members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society asking them to give their opinions. These made up all the remaining submissions.

Can this seriously be considered as unbiased in its recommendations? Yet the House of Lords had previously commissioned research based on a much greater number of people and organisations, which decisively rejected any change in the law.

Hard cases make bad law is a very sound principle, for past experience (as with the abortion law, for example) shows that what starts in a small way often opens the floodgates to consequences unintended at the start.

As someone has said, surely it would be better to concentrate on dignity in living, by providing more palliative care, rather than create a culture where older people may well feel pressurised to end their lives rather than be a burden on others?

STELLA WILSON (MRS)

Tandragee, Co Armagh

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