House of Lords rejects assisted suicide

The House of Lords has rejected the latest attempt to legalise assisted suicide in England and Wales.

Earlier tonight, Peers voted by 179 votes to 145 against Lord Forsyth’s amendment to the Health and Care Bill that sought to allow terminally ill adults to get help from doctors to kill themselves.

It is the twelfth time since 1997 that proposals for assisted suicide related laws have not been passed by UK parliamentarians.


Lord Forsyth’s amendment sought to force the Government to bring forward a draft Bill within twelve months to enable terminally ill adults to get medical assistance to kill themselves.

Welcoming the result, The Christian Institute’s Ciarán Kelly said it had averted “a real threat to the lives of vulnerable people”.

“The proposal clearly breached the Sixth Commandment and denied the value of every person as an individual made in the image of God.”

Under pressure

He continued: “Recent scandals over blanket use of ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ orders showed that, sadly, some health professionals have lost sight of the value of human life.

“Weakening the law would have put vulnerable people under pressure to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden on others.

“Supporters of assisted suicide claim it can be introduced safely, but international evidence shows it is impossible to establish sufficient safeguards to protect vulnerable people once the law is liberalised. Keeping assisted suicide illegal is the only safeguard.”

Unequivocal rejection

After the vote, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton expressed her delight that the attempt to introduce assisted suicide “by the back door” had failed.

Speaking on behalf of disability campaign group Not Dead Yet, Lady Campbell said disabled people “want support to live, not support to die”.

She was supported by Dr Gordon Macdonald, CEO of Care Not Killing, who said Peers had recognised “the dangers of ripping up laws that protect the terminally ill and disabled people from feeling like a burden”.

Danny Kruger MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dying Well, added: “The House of Lords has now unequivocally rejected the latest attempt to shoehorn radical assisted suicide laws onto the statute book”.

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