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BREAKING: Bid to introduce assisted suicide through healthcare bill

Assisted Suicide
10 January 2022
Drugs

Campaigners are attempting to hijack UK Government healthcare plans to introduce physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in England and Wales.

Conservative Peer Lord Forsyth has lodged an amendment to the Health and Care Bill that would require Ministers to bring forward ‘Assisted Dying’ legislation within a year of the Act coming into force:

“The Secretary of State must, within the period of 12 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed, lay before Parliament a draft bill to permit terminally ill, mentally competent adults legally to end their own lives with medical assistance”.
Amendment Lord Forsyth

If the amendment is selected, it could be voted on by members of the House of Lord at Report stage, which will take place in the next few weeks. James Mildred, Chief Communications Officer at CARE, commented:

“This attempt to hijack legislation designed to improve the NHS to usher in physician-assisted suicide is deeply cynical – particularly when member’s legislation on this issue is already before parliament. Campaigners are trying to introduce huge and controversial law changes via the back door.

“Evidence from overseas shows that introducing assisted suicide and euthanasia undermines the quality of healthcare available to people at the end of life. It results in pressure on the most vulnerable, and it undermines the dignity and equality of marginalised citizens.

“We hope Peers will see past this attempt to hijack government healthcare proposals and reject this amendment at the earliest possible stage.”
James Mildred CARE

The government has stressed that it does not intent to introduce legislation on assisted suicide, which it considers to be a matter for parliament. Last year, a spokesman told the Telegraph:

“This is an extremely sensitive and personal issue. The government’s position has always been that it is a matter of individual conscience and therefore for Parliament to decide on.

“Parliament has debated this issue on several occasions and as things stand the will of Parliament is that there should be no change to the law.”
Spokesman UK Government

Another private member’s bill seeking to introduce PAS has already been brought forward at Westminster. Baroness Meacher’s ‘Assisted Dying Bill’ would also make it legal for adults considered terminally ill to access lethal drugs from doctors.

During a second reading debate on the plans in October last year, a large number of Peers spoke out against the proposals. You can read a summary of the best moments in this article, published at the time: Peers oppose assisted suicide bill

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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.

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