Wednesday, 1 July 2009

BMA vote against assisted suicide welcome

I've just heard that the British Medical Association (BMA), at its annual representative meeting (ARM) today, has voted against assisted suicide. The delegates voted on the motion:
"That this Meeting would support a change in legislation to:

(i) ensure that those accompanying the patient at an assisted death, but not actively participating, will not be subject to criminal prosecution;

(ii) allow the choice of an assisted death by patients who are terminally ill and who have mental capacity."
Clause (i) was defeated by 52% to 44% (with some abstentions), and clause (ii) lost by a large majority on show of hands.

SPUC is a core member of the Care Not Killing Alliance (CNK) which campaigns against euthanasia. In a press release about the BMA vote, Dr Peter Saunders of CNK said:
"By rejecting this motion today the BMA has affirmed its longstanding opposition to a change in the law and has chosen to stand with the RCP [Royal College of Physicians], the RCGP [Royal College of General Practitioners], the RCN [Royal College of Nursing] and the two thirds of doctors who consistently say in all opinion polls that they do not wish the law to change."
The BMA's vote is of course great news for the cause of life and the defence of the vulnerable, particularly in the light of the amendments proposed to the government's Coroners and Justice bill due to be debated next week (probably on Tuesday, 7 July). Please tell members of the House of Lords about the BMA vote when you write to them to oppose Lord Falconer's amendment - see SPUC's action alert of 6 June.

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