OUR society has never known such levels of medical expertise and ability to control pain.

This is clearly one of the reasons supporting the claim by Care Not Killing ("Suicide proposals 'unethical and unnecessary", The Herald, October 22) that assisted suicide is unnecessary, a contention to which Dr Bob Scott (Letters, October 24) objects. Our medical ethics since the time of Hippocrates have been built firmly on the principle of first doing no harm. It is the recent innovation that killing someone is not doing them harm which makes the pursuit of laws to allow killing unethical.

As for control, we can sweep the world to witness how assisted suicide and euthanasia have progressively widened to encompass people first who were suffering and dying, then to those just suffering and now to those just tired of living. Now that some jurisdictions assert the so-called right to euthanise children the wake-up call surely has sounded that allowing any life to be deliber­ately ended puts everyone at risk, most notably the weakest in our society.

John Deighan,

Parliamentary Officer,

Catholic Parliamentary Office,

5 St Vincent Place,


THERE is nothing better designed to rally supporters than to claim one group is claiming the moral high ground (Letters, October 24). It offends our sensitivity to the rights everyone tells us we have. However, a simple dictionary check reminds us ethics refers to the series of rules provided to an individual by an external source, for example the medical profession. Morals refer to an individual's own principles regarding right and wrong.

The Care Not Killing Alliance is opposing the new rules that would dominate our society, and question­ing their efficacy. It is not pretending to be fighting for people's moral freedom as a smokescreen for changing the rules.

Those are rules which if changed will target the usual suspects: the elderly, the marginalised, the disabled, the mentally ill and the lonely.

There will be no Hollywood-style deaths, though they will be promised.

Rachel McKenzie,

Oswald Road,