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1,700 doctors oppose assisted suicide law change in letter to Health Secretary

Assisted Suicide
20 October 2021
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Nearly 1,700 doctors have written to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid to oppose the Assisted Dying Bill which is due to have its Second Reading debate in the House of Lords on Friday (22 October).

The doctors have said they will refuse to help patients take their own lives.

In the let­ter, 1,689 doc­tors said:

“The shift from preserving life to taking life is enormous and should not be minimized. It’s impossible for any government to draft assisted suicide laws which include legal protection from future extension and expansion of those laws.

“Any change would threaten society’s ability to safeguard vulnerable patients from abuse, it would undermine the trust the public places in physicians, and it would send a clear message to our frail, elderly and disabled patients about the value that society places on them as people.

“Far from one person’s decision affecting no one else, it affects us all. Some patients may never consider assisted suicide unless it is suggested to them.

"The cruel irony of this path is that legislation introduced with the good intention of enhancing patient choice will diminish the choices of the most vulnerable."
Doctors' letter to Health Secretary

They con­clude:

“We would not take patients’ lives – even if they asked us to – but for the sake of us all and for future generation, we ask that the law remain unchanged.”
Doctors' letter

Fri­day’s debate

On 22 October, Peers will debate the Assisted Dying Bill at Second Reading. Ordinarily, Bills at second reading in the Lords go through 'on the nod' which means there's no vote.

However, there are exceptions to this and it remains to be seen what happens on Friday.

CARE is actively encouraging people to contact Peers by using the new campaign tool on the charity's website.

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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