A Belgian report on euthanasia in 2016-17 suggests that an estimated six people are euthanized daily in the country, where the practice has been legal since 2002.
"In the Netherlands, there was a case of a 74-year-old who was suffering from Dementia who was killed in 2016. The doctor allegedly failed to verify that the woman wanted to end her life, sedated the woman and asked her family to hold her down as she administered the lethal drug," Macdonald said.
"These cases and many others show how assisted dying laws are operating way beyond their original remit and how patients who are not mentally competent are being killed on a regular basis."
According to the U.K.'s National Health Service, euthanasia could be prosecuted as murder or manslaughter and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, while physician-assisted suicide carries with it a maximum punishment of 14 years imprisonment.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that suicide and cooperation in suicide are morally unacceptable, though it notes that: "We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives."
"Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible. Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable," the Catechism states.
"Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded," it adds.
The Eccleston case is similar to a 2017 case in which an English chemist was cleared after administering lethal drugs to his 85-year-old father, who had reportedly wanted to die. A judge at the time ruled that the chemist's actions "were acts of pure compassion and mercy."
A terminally ill man, Noel Conway, who wanted a doctor to be able to prescribe him a lethal dose, challenged the Suicide Act 1961 in High Court in 2017, but his case was dismissed.