Stop an extreme assisted suicide bill becoming law
The campaign to legalise assisted suicide in the UK is gathering pace. Baroness Meacher’s assisted suicide Bill will have its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 22 October, and the pro-assisted suicide lobby is increasing pressure on Peers to support this dangerous bill.
This extreme bill would allow for lethal drugs to be prescribed to people predicted to have six months or less to live, even if these people feel pressure from their families or wider society to end their lives for fear of being a burden.
The NHS defines assisted suicide as “the act of deliberately assisting or encouraging another person to kill themselves”. Assisted suicide is illegal under the Suicide Act 1961 and is punishable by up to 14 year’s imprisonment.
Through major parliamentary and media contributions, the APPG for Dying Well has spent the past several months promoting access to excellent palliative care and standing against the legalisation of assisted suicide.
However, the UK Government still needs to know that there is strong public opposition, especially from palliative care physicians and people with disabilities, to this assisted suicide bill, and that it should never become law.
More experienced medical professionals in end-of-life care are less likely to support assisted suicide/euthanasia. A British Medical Association survey from October 2020 found that 76% of palliative medicine specialists opposed the legalisation of assisted suicide. In November 2020, over fifty doctors working in palliative care and other forms of end-of-life care signed a letter to the Times opposing the legalisation of assisted suicide in the UK.
High-quality palliative care can effectively alleviate distressing symptoms associated with the dying process. The Association for Palliative Medicine considers that “actively assisting a patient to take his or her life undermines the fundamental principles of the doctor-patient relationship irrevocably and harmfully” and that “no level of safeguard or regulation can be established to guarantee that a law permitting physician-assisted suicide will not be misused or lead unintentionally to the death of someone who wanted to live.”
Significantly, all major disability rights groups in the United Kingdom (including Disability Rights UK, SCOPE, United Kingdom's Disabled People's Council, and Not Dead Yet UK) oppose any change in the law around assisted suicide. No doctors’ groups in the UK support changing the law, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Physicians, the British Geriatric Society, and the Association for Palliative Medicine.
Sign this petition now to make it clear to the UK Government that they cannot allow Baroness Meacher’s dangerous and extreme assisted suicide Bill to become law.
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