Friday 20 March 2009

URGENT Suicide amendment Monday, contact your MP now

For UK readers: Please telephone and/or email your MP and urge him/her to oppose a pro-suicide amendment tabled yesterday by Patricia Hewitt (former health minister, pictured) to the Coroners & Justice Bill.

The amendment (which is a new clause in the bill) will be debated on Monday afternoon (23 March) if selected by the Speaker. The amendment's effect would be to make it lawful to help anyone travel to a country where so-called assisted dying is legal so that they can commit suicide. Although this amendment is primarily aimed at those who are disabled or chronically ill, it applies to anyone who may be suicidal - old, young, depressed, in debt, disabled, etc. It will make all those who may be suicidal easy prey to unscrupulous people. Ask MPs to oppose and vote against the amendment.

MPs can be contacted by email via and/or by telephone through the House of Commons switchboard number 020 7219 3000.

Please tell your friends and pro-life contacts. Please ask clergy to encourage their congregations to telephone their MPs urgently.

For further information contact SPUC by email to or by telephone on 020 7820 3129.

Responding to the BBC's reportage on the amendment, and Patricia Hewitt's interview this morning on the Today programme, Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, said:

"This is a reckless and dangerous amendment that could lead to the deaths of many people if MPs do not read the text of the amendment carefully and recognise that it sanctions helping anyone to die - a teenager upset after failing exams or bullied at school, a businessman in debt, or a post-natally depressed mother. The euthanasia lobby have a track record of exploiting people who have lost hope and purpose in their lives. The appropriate response in a caring and civilised society is to help such people to regain their sense of self-worth and overcome suffering, not to tell them that they are right to want to die. But the MPs who have tabled this amendment are threatening the lives of all suicidal people whatever problem they face."

Text of amendment, tabled 19 March 2009 by Patricia Hewitt, Mr Crispin Blunt, Dr Evan Harris, Kevin Barron, Richard Ottaway and James Plaskitt:

"To move the following Clause:-

' (1) The Suicide Act 1961 (c.60) is amended as follows.

(2) After Section 2, insert -

'2ZA Acts not capable of encouraging or assisting suicide

An act by D is not to be treated as capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person ("T") if the act is done solely or principally for the purpose of enabling or assisting T to travel to a country or territory in which assisted dying is lawful.'."