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The British House of Lords voted 148-100 against a measure that would have legalized assisted suicide. The vote is a huge victory for pro-life advocates, disability groups and doctors who campaigned together to stop the bill from becoming law.

Introduced by Lord Joffe, the bill would have allowed physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients with less than six months to live.

It would have had Britain join the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland as well as the state of Oregon in legalizing the practice. The vote came after an intense debate and the measure is now dead unless Lord Joffe asks for more time for debate, which is considered unlikely.

Liberal Democrat Lord Carlile, who opposed the bill, told other lawmakers that the measure was “morally indefensible” saying that it would inevitably lead to “voluntary euthanasia” where doctors would take a more active role in actually killing the patient.

“Despite protestations to the contrary, everybody in your Lordships’ house knows that those who are moving this bill have the clear intention of it leading to voluntary euthanasia,” he said. “That has always been the aim and it remains the aim now.” [14May06,; 12May06,]