Case of moral bankruptcy?

I note your recent leader (The Lawyer 23 January) on euthanasia and the advocacy by the legal profession of immoral legislation in this country.

Many pundits are now decrying the moral disintegration of our society and blaming politicians and lack of money.

It is nothing to do with money, but organisations such as the Law Commission can be held very much to blame. The Law Commission is behind the present Divorce Bill and other reductions in moral and legal standards in our country. However, euthanasia is really the opening of Pandora's Box.

One has to say in a dominating, materialistic world which gives little acknowledgement to the reality of spiritual matters, we can be seen as disposable objects before birth as well as in our old age. There is a certain irony but we cannot fully adapt ourselves to the advance of modern medicine and surgery along with better diets and living conditions. There is almost an anger in the air that people are living longer and are putting pressure on a Health Service which increasingly thinks it cannot cope. The medical profession, not always given to exaggeration or pessimism, is making frightening prophesies as to the future of the Health Service and the treatment and quality of life of our elderly and sick citizens as they see money taking priority over ethics.

Euthanasia was rejected by the House of Lords' Commission and the BMA rejected it by four to one not long ago.

However, I understand the Department of Health is investigating euthanasia and certain sources say internal papers have detailed the savings which could be made if euthanasia was practised on the elderly and disabled. There was even talk of a draft Bill.

In my opinion, therefore, we must ask our thinkers and teachers to think long and hard on moral dilemmas and teach the meaning of courage, justice, respect and faithfulness of the established Christian traditions of this country. We must challenge lawyers such as yourselves who are guilty at times of introducing laws which lead to moral bankruptcy. The media is guilty of manipulating public opinion to an extent which undermines moral values.

Euthanasia is of course promoted on the grounds that people can avoid undue pain and suffering. However, this could become a very slippery slope and living wills would be the first step in a procedure that could have disastrous moral and ethical consequences for a society. It may well be in decline in any case, but I do not think it fits a body of lawyers to accelerate it on its way.

JW Murphy

53 Beehive Lane

Welwyn Garden City.