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MP tells Commons how dying father took own life

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Pauk Blomfield

An MP fought back tears last night as he told the Commons how his terminally ill father gassed himself alone in his car rather than die a “lingering, degrading death” from cancer.

Paul Blomfield said that the 87-year-old former RAF pilot, Harry Blomfield, had “lived life to the full right to the end” but had taken a conscious decision to take his own life last July.

There was silence in the Chamber as the Labour MP for Sheffield Central called for a change in the law on assisted suicide which he said would have at least allowed his father to say goodbye.

He was one of a series of MPs who spoke from personal experience as the Commons overwhelmingly backed legal guidelines limiting the chances of loved-ones being prosecuted for assisting someone set on taking their own life.

The motion…was the first time the Commons has debated the issue of assisted suicide for almost 40 years.

An unusually emotional debate heard passionate calls, on one hand, for the Government to launch a consultation on legalizing assisted suicide and, on the other, for legislation to prevent any further steps toward euthanasia.

MPs also backed an amendment calling for greater support for palliative care to reduce the pain suffered by the terminally ill…

Mr Blomfield said that he was convinced that his father had made up his mind to take his own life after being diagnosed with lung cancer and had often remarked that that would be his intention.

“He wasn’t afraid of pain but he couldn’t face the indignity of that lingering, degrading death,” he said. “I am sure that what drove him to end his life when he did was the fear that if he didn’t end his life when he could, he would lose the opportunity to act at all.

“If the law had made it possible he could, and I am sure he would, have shared his plans and he would have been able to say goodbye.

“He would have been able to die with his family around him and not alone in a carbon monoxide-filled garage.

He, and many more like him, deserve better.”

RTFA for more examples of the courage and hope and love of those who told their stories before their peers in Parliament. It takes a certain measure of bravery to support legislation which stands up for human dignity against the pious and smug pronouncements of those priests and pundits who feel charged by superstition to justify pain and an absence of personal liberty as we die.

Some of that blather is at the end of the article. I will not justify their cruelty by reprinting it.

Credit to Commons for examining the question and providing some aid. Our own Congress would be one of the last places on Earth where I would look for kindness and solace on such a topic.

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Written by Ed Campbell

March 28, 2012 at 2:00 am

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