BRITAIN’S leading medical ethics expert has suggested that the frail and elderly should consider suicide to stop them becoming a financial burden on their families and society.
Baroness Warnock spoke on the eve of a Commons debate on the Mental Capacity Bill, which critics claim will allow “euthanasia by the back door”.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, she said: "I know I’m not really allowed to say it, but one of the things that would motivate me [to die] is I couldn’t bear hanging on and being such a burden on people.
"In other contexts, sacrificing oneself for one’s family would be considered good. I don’t see what is so horrible about the motive of not wanting to be an increasing nuisance.
“If I went into a nursing home it would be a terrible waste of money that my family could use far better.”
Warnock, 80, a Lords’ cross-bencher who helped frame Britain’s legalisation on embryo research, also suggests that parents of premature babies should be charged to keep them on life support machines if doctors write off their chances of leading a healthy life.
“Maybe it has come down to saying ‘Okay, they can stay alive but the family will have to pay for it.’ Otherwise it will be an awful drain on public resources,” she said. Warnock sat on a Lords select committee which agreed on a ban on euthanasia in 1993, but last year she conceded that the law needed to be reviewed.