Exit International – a pro-Euthanasia organisation

This week Professor called Avril Henry, aged 81, both had her house raided by police and killed herself. She was a member of an organisation called Exit International, who support Euthanasia and the police raid had resulted after a tip off from Interpol that she had illegally imported drugs in her house, ready to use to kill herself.

Henry wasn’t terminally ill, but he suffered from numerous chronic health conditions which she said made her life difficult, including recurring urinary tract infections, ear infections and cardiac and renal problems. She didn’t want to live anymore and wanted medical professionals to end her life peacefully.  She had hoped to travel to Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal,but with  her health declining quickly she had decided that travelling wasn’t a possibility and she’d rather die at home.

GCSE RS students need to have an opinion on whether euthanasia should ever be legalised in England and Wales.


Million Dollar Baby

This is a great film for GCSE Religious Studies (Year 11) students to watch about how Maggie wants her boxing coach and friend Frankie Dunn to help her die as she is paralysed  – thereby performing euthanasia which is against the law.

A summary of the film: Frankie Dunn has trained and managed some incredible fighters during a lifetime spent in the ring. The most important lesson he teaches his boxers is the one that rules life: above all, always protect yourself. In the wake of a painful estrangement from his daughter, Frankie has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time. His only friend, Scrap, an ex-boxer who looks after Frankie’s gym, knows that beneath his gruff exterior is a man who has been seeking, for the past 25 years, the forgiveness that somehow continues to elude him. Then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into his gym… Maggie Fitzgerald, a poor thirty-one year old waitress from the very lower classes and with a dysfunctional loser family, decides to make a difference through boxing. She convinces the experienced hardened boxing trainer Frankie Dunn to coach her and be her manager, with the support of his old partner Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris, who sees her potential as a boxer. Frankie has a problematical relationship with his daughter, and practically adopts Maggie along her career.

Actor wants his mum to be allowed to die as she has ‘no quality of life’

John Hannah, a Scottish actor famous for his part in Four Weddings and a Funeral, has said he wants his eighty-four year old mother who’d in a nursing home with dementia to be allowed to die.

John Hannah

‘She really doesn’t want to be here,’ says Hannah, 53.

‘Maybe there comes a time when you are done with that natural cycle. I am hoping, by the time we get to that age, there will be an assisted exit programme. My mum’s got no quality of life whatsoever. I don’t know if she knows who we are when we go in. But if someone said you can let her go now, my sisters and I, we would say, yes, do that. She can’t say it now — now the dementia has developed.’

You can read more of this article about assisted suicide (euthanasia) on the Daily Mail.

Otherwise he is the famous scene from Four Weddings and a Funeral when John’s character reads the poem by W H Auden called Stop the Clock at his lover’s funeral. Apologies for the swear word in the opening sentence.

Euthanasia is never out of the news

A hot topic, and something debated in Year 10 RE lessons as part of Unit 1 Section 2 (Matters of Life and Death), it seems that every week you’ll find it in the British news.

Last week there was a Dutch minister who said he regretted how the Netherlands had legalised euthanasia and that he feared Britain would make the same mistake.

Meanwhile this week it is the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey who has announced his support for the proposal to legalist assisted dying as a way of preventing “needless suffering”.


As peers prepare to debate a bill next Friday to legalise assisted dying, the former head of the worldwide Anglican church said it would not be “anti-Christian” to ensure that terminally ill patients avoid “unbearable” pain. The assisted dying bill, due to be debated next Friday at second reading in the House of Lords, would legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill in England and Wales.

The Church of England is strongly opposed to the bill. But in an article for the Daily Mail, Carey said he had changed his mind after witnessing the pain of Tony Nicklinson who suffered from locked-in syndrome. He died two years ago just weeks after losing his high court battle.

Carey wrote: “The fact is that I have changed my mind. The old philosophical certainties have collapsed in the face of the reality of needless suffering.

“It was the case of Tony Nicklinson that exerted the deepest influence on me. Here was a dignified man making a simple appeal for mercy, begging that the law allow him to die in peace, supported by his family. His distress made me question my motives in previous debates. Had I been putting doctrine before compassion, dogma before human dignity?

“I began to reconsider how to interpret Christian theology on the subject. As I did so, I grew less and less certain of my opposition to the right to die.”


The Falconer bill would allow doctors to administer a lethal dose of drugs to terminally-ill patients with less than six months to live who have the mental capacity to make an informed choice. The patient’s condition would have to be assessed by two doctors.

The former archbishop wrote of how he challenged his own thinking as he re-read the Scriptures. He wrote: “One of the key themes of the gospels is love for our fellow human beings … Today we face a terrible paradox. In strictly observing accepted teaching about the sanctity of life, the church could actually be sanctioning anguish and pain – the very opposite of the Christian message.”

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, the chair of Inter-Faith Leaders for Dignity in Dying, welcomed Carey’s intervention. Romain said: “The former archbishop’s words are like a breath of fresh air sweeping through rooms cloaked in theological dust that should have been dispersed long ago. He shows that it is possible to be both religious and in favour of assisted dying.”

MPs and peers will be given a free vote on the bill. Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat care minister, is expected to support the measure.