CARE: Christian Action, Research and Education

For what you believe
Open menu Close menu
Life valued 0 0
Assisted Suicide

Senior doctor quits Royal College over new assisted suicide stance

8 April 2019

The chairman of the ethics committee at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has resigned over the RCP’s new official stance of ‘neutral’ on assisted suicide.

Last month the College controversially dropped its historic opposition to assisted suicide and adopted the new position following a highly controversial poll of doctor’s views.

Now, Professor Andrew Weale, emeritus professor of political theory and public policy at University College London has quit, saying the decision by the RCP was “not coherent” and “unfair”. Two other members of the ethics committee have also walked out.

RCP go for least favoured option

The Royal College has historically been opposed to assisted suicide, like every other major medical body. In 2014, it polled its members on the issue and a clear majority wanted the College to remain opposed and so the College retained its historic position of being against assisted suicide. But in this most recent poll, the College framed the survey in a very irregular way.

Unlike in previous polls, the RCP’s council had already decided in advance and without consulting members that they would go neutral unless any option was backed by a super-majority of 60%. At the time, the former chair of the RCP’s ethics committee, John Saunders called it a ‘sham poll’.

In the survey, doctors were asked what the College’s official position on assisted suicide should be. In total, most responders wanted the College to remain opposed (43.4%), less than a third (31.6%) thought the College should be in favour and a mere one in four (25%) thought the College should go neutral.

Despite the lack of support for adopting a neutral position, that is precisely what the College then did.

RCP assisted suicide poll challenged by doctors

After the poll was launched, 1,800 doctors signed an open letter to the RCP President complaining about the irregular framing of the poll and urging him to take it down. A small group of doctors has also launched legal proceedings against the RCP and the group has raised £24,000 through an online fundraising campaign.

Dr David Randall who is leading the legal challenge to the College’s new position said: “These resignations from the RCP's ethics committee add to the concern that the college has rushed into a position of neutrality on assisted dying without proper process, and without fully considering the implications of neutrality.”

Find out more

Read the full story in the Sunday Telegraph here (£)

Read more on CARE’s position on assisted suicide

Euth

Assisted Suicide

Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

Find out more about the cause

Sign up for Impact Direct

We want to show a better story for our culture and society, and we want to help you be part of shaping that in structures that we are given as citizens in the UK.

Our weekly email, Impact Direct, is about helping you stay informed, up-to-date, and equipped to engage in culture and society.

Sign up now

Recent news

Stormont Istock 0 8

Find out how your MLAs voted on the abortion motion

Last night, MLAs voted 46 to 40 in favour of a DUP motion which rejected the imposition of abortion legislation including abortion up to birth for non-fatal disabilities and Down's syndrome.

Keep reading
Stormont 1024x768 W Hsxq Po 1v

Northern Ireland Assembly rejects abortion to birth for all non-fatal disabilities

The Northern Ireland Assembly this evening voted in favour of a DUP motion rejecting the imposition of abortion legislation which extends to abortion up to birth for all non-fatal disabilities, including Down’s syndrome.

Keep reading
Shutterstock 245930107 0 0

Pray for MLAs ahead of debate on abortion motion at the Assembly tonight

This evening, members of the Northern Ireland Assembly (MLAs) will debate a motion rejecting abortion to birth for all non-fatal disabilities. The motion reads as follows:

Keep reading