Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Mental Capacity

An interesting, and challenging, series of votes. The aims of the Mental Capacity Bill are worthy as the intention is to provide a clear legal framework to empower adults with impaired mental capacity to make as many of their decisions as possible and to clarify the scope of decision making power that can be made by doctors.
There has been a groundswell of opinion along the lines that the Bill is an attempt to introduce euthanasia by the back door but I have not been wholly convinced by the Government assertions that this is not the case.

My natural inclination is to be sympathetic to the concept of living wills and sympathetic to the idea that people may decide that they want some say into how their lives may end. Having said that it seemed to me to be completely wrong that any legislation should be tacked on to a Bill that essentially deals with some other matter. The issues surrounding euthanasia and the strength of the deeply held views mean that these are issues that demand clear parliamentary time in their own right.

My decision meant that I voted with people whose views I am not usually in tune with. They are the people who believe that life should be preserved at any cost. I believe that we should have an element of say in our own destiny. This afternoon, despite those differences, we voted for clarity in this Bill. It should have been a free vote but Government whipping meant that this was not the case.