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Union of British Doctors drops opposition to assisted suicide | Catholic National Register

Numerous attempts to legalize assisted suicide in the UK have failed, the most recent in 2015. However, Parliament is once again considering whether or not to legalize the practice.

LONDON – In a significant turn, the UK Doctors Union is no longer officially opposed to legalizing assisted suicide.

In a September 14 announcement, the British Medical Association took a “neutral” stance on the issue, following a vote at its annual meeting of representatives. A plurality of representatives, 49%, were in favor of moving to the “neutral” position, while 48% were against and 3% abstained.

With its new official position, the association will not campaign for or against policies that would legalize various forms of euthanasia. He had opposed assisted suicide since 2006.

John Chisholm, Chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) Medical Ethics Board, noted in a September 14 statement that “far from being silent on the issue, we will continue to represent the views, interests and concerns expressed by our members “.

Chisolm noted the responsibility to defend the conscientious rights of physicians, should physician-prescribed suicide become legal in the UK.

“Medical assistance in dying is a very emotional and sensitive subject that inspires a wide range of views and opinions both in the general public and among the medical profession, for whom any change in law would have a profound impact. “, did he declare.

In the UK, “physician-assisted dying”, “euthanasia” and “physician-assisted suicide” are illegal. Residents seeking to end their days in these procedures should visit the Swiss Dignitas Clinic. In 2019, 42 people from Britain came to Dignitas to end their life, up from 24 in 2018.

The British Physicians’ Association was prompted to consider changing its official position on the matter following a survey of its members published in October 2020. According to the survey, 40% of respondents said the organization “should actively support attempts to change the law”, and 21% of respondents argued for the “neutral” position on assisted suicide. A third of those questioned pleaded for the association to maintain its opposition position.

In addition, half of those polled said the UK should allow doctors to prescribe drugs that would kill their patients.

The recent vote was on a motion stating, “In order to represent the diversity of opinions demonstrated in the survey of its members, the BMA should take a neutral stance on physician-assisted dying, including physician-assisted dying. “

With a “neutral” position on assisted suicide, the BMA joins the Royal College of Nursing as well as the Royal College of Physicians. The Royal College of Nursing took a neutral stance on the issue in 2009, while the Royal College of Physicians did so 10 years later in 2019.

Numerous attempts to legalize assisted suicide in the UK have failed, the most recent in 2015. However, Parliament is once again considering whether or not to legalize the practice.

Bill sponsored by Molly Meacher Baroness Meacher would allow physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill adults with less than six months to live, subject to the approval of two doctors and a High Court judge . Meacher is a member and chairman of Dignity in Dying, which advocates for euthanasia and assisted suicide in the UK

The Bill on assisted dying 2021 is set for its second reading in the House of Lords with full debate on October 22.

Many organizations, including the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Not Dead Yet UK rights group, have spoken out against the bill.

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