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70 MPs and Peers call on Govt to reject attempts to introduce assisted suicide

As pro-assisted suicide groups lobby for a change in the law on assisted suicide, seventy MPs and Peers have cited their concerns that “the categories of those who qualify for assisted suicide or euthanasia has been expanded” in other countries that have legalised assisted suicide, and the legalisation of assisted suicide will lead to “those who are elderly, sick, or disabled, from feeling pressured into ending their lives”.

Last month, 70 MPs and Peers signed the open letter in the face of renewed calls for a change in the law on assisted suicide in the UK from the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG). The APPHG has requested an enquiry into whether the law should be changed to allow medical professionals to supply or administer lethal drugs to patients wanting to end their own lives and who meet certain conditions.

The open letter urges the Lord Chancellor to reject this request for an enquiry noting that the purpose of such an enquiry is precisely to help create a case for changing the law. However, the open letter argues that such a change should not be considered.

No need for another enquiry

The letter argues that there is no need for a new enquiry because the matter has not only been extensively investigated as recently as 2004 by the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, but was addressed by Parliament in 2015 with a 330-118 majority rejecting assisted suicide. The law has also been tested in court both in 2014 and 2019 with the judges concluding that the law prohibiting assisted suicide should remain.

Expanding euthanasia law

The letter cites a number of other jurisdictions that have legalised assisted suicide and/or euthanasia noting that in each case, while the law initially applies to a select group, it slowly expands to apply to others. The letter states:

“There are escalating numbers of deaths over time in every jurisdiction, and in almost all places the categories of those who qualify for assisted suicide or euthanasia has been expanded”.

“In Oregon, which is the campaigners’ declared model for an ‘assisted dying’ law, cases of assisted suicide have risen fifteen-fold since it was introduced in 1997”.

In Canada “[t]he legislation itself proposes a review with the possibility of extending euthanasia to mature minors and those with solely mental health conditions”.

In the Netherlands “[w]e see how laws which were supposed to be limited to mentally competent terminally ill adults, now allow the euthanasia of non-mentally competent adults; disabled children aged under 12 months; disabled adults; and even those with treatable psychiatric problems such as depression and anorexia”.

“Such laws by definition contain within themselves the seeds of their own expansion”.

Pressure to die

The letter points out the dangers assisted suicide and euthanasia legislation creates for those who may not wish to die in the first place. “In Oregon over 50% of those ending their lives cite the fear of being a burden on their families, friends and caregivers as a reason for seeking to die”.

Palliative care, not assisted suicide

Finally, the letter promotes the need for effective palliative care rather than assisted suicide and euthanasia to alleviate suffering at the end of life, noting that 83% of palliative care physicians are opposed to making euthanasia legal.

“Palliative care is a relatively new branch of medicine, but it is one in which the UK – with its long tradition of wonderful hospice care – is now the world leader. Rather than abandoning this progress and resorting to the dangerous expedient of assisted suicide, we should focus our attention on ensuring that everyone has access to top-quality palliative care”.

Right To Life spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “This letter provides ample reason to reject renewed calls for a change in the law on assisted suicide in the UK. Parliament and the courts have rejected such attempts multiple times in recent history. The experience of increased pressure to accept assisted suicide or euthanasia, as well as the often ever-expanding euthanasia legislation we see in countries that have legalised assisted suicide and euthanasia, should be all the evidence we need that introducing such legislation would have similar disastrous effects”.

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Dear reader

Thanks to the support from people like you, last year a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Domestic Abuse Bill with two extreme abortion proposals failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this is not the end for our opposition.

We are currently facing major threats on five separate fronts:

  1. Pro-abortion MP Rupa Huq has brought forward an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to introduce a jail term of up to two years if a pro-lifer offers support or advice to a woman near an abortion clinic. This is a threat to unborn babies and to freedom of speech.
  2. The assisted suicide lobby has brought forward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which was introduced to the House of Lords on 26 May.
  3. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland.
  4. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.
  5. The abortion lobby is expected to make another attempt to change abortion law to allow abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. 

Fighting both the abortion and assisted suicide lobbies over this period has already made a huge dent in Right To Life UK's limited resources.

To cover this gap and ensure we effectively defeat these proposals during this period, we must raise at least £200,000.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will make a significant difference.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

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