Euthanasia backlash plagues Incapacity Bill

An alliance of charities is appealing to the Government not to be swayed by "alarmist and misleading" reactions to the Mental Incapacity Bill that they fear will result in it being sidelined for the 14th year running.

The Making Decisions Alliance, a group of 27 charities including Turning Point and the Alzeimer's Society, is worried that the timing of negative media coverage focusing on euthanasia will persuade the Government to drop the Bill from the Queen's Speech.

An article in the Daily Mail last week called the Mental Incapacity Bill a "terrifying new law" that would institutionalise euthanasia and make it "part of the fabric of our healthcare system".

But Richard Kramer, head of policy at Turning Point, said that the representation of the Bill by the media and some anti-euthanasia campaigning groups is false and misleading. "Euthanasia is illegal in the UK and will remain so under the Bill," said Kramer. "We've been campaigning for this piece of legislation for 14 years and the thought that, once again, it could be left out of the Queen's Speech because of a misplaced public backlash is really worrying."

Kramer said that the main focus of the law changes will be to allow those with limited capacity, such as those with mental health problems or dementia, to have a greater say about their lives and the treatment they receive.

The Making Decisions Alliance has been campaigning for the Bill since 1989 and claims that similar coverage in the past has stopped it from reaching Parliament.

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