UK Lords put aside controversial assisted suicide bill

[JURIST] A UK bill that would let British doctors present the option of assisted suicide [UK advocacy website] to patients with less than six months to live who are experiencing "extreme suffering" stalled Friday in the British House of Lords [official website]. After spending the day debating whether it was ethical to allow the terminally ill to be administered drugs that could be used to end their lives, peers supported an amendment by 48 votes to postpone the bill for six months.

Public opposition to the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill [text], modeled in part on the Oregon Death With Dignity Act [PDF] has increased as civil rights and religious activists, including Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams [excerpt of speech in opposition], have expressed concerns that patients would feel "obligated" to choose euthanasia. Two British physicians' groups came out against the bill [JURIST report] earlier this week, declaring that it was not necessary for good clinical care. Even if the House of Lords had approved it on second reading Friday, necessary majority support in the House of Commons [official website] was still seen as lacking. BBC News has more.

 

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