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British House of Lords Defeats Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide

Euthanasia Cases Increase in the Netherlands for the Third Consecutive Year

Not Dead Yet  UK

British Cancer Patient Glad He Didn't Use Assisted Suicide, Opposes Euthanasia…

BRITISH HOUSE OF LORDS DEFEATS BILL TO LEGALIZE ASSISTED SUICIDE.  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,]

NOT DEAD YET UK launched on 12May06, is opposed to assisted suicide.  Jane Campbell convened NDY UK, seeing the need for an umbrella group for the many voices in the disability community expressing fear and opposition to assisted suicide legislation.  Diane Coleman is the founder and president of Not Dead Yet in the USA, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary.  Coleman says she is encouraged and heartened by the formation of this sister organization. "The pro-euthanasia movement is an international one.  This is the first step in the formation of a concerted international resistance to that movement from the 'target' population – those of us with disabilities, terminal or not, who pro-euthanasia advocates say would be better off dead.  As the targets of these policies, we deserve a central role in this policy debate.  Moreover, as our perspective as insiders in the health care system becomes more widely understood, it should be no surprise that we choose the role of resistance." [10May06; NDY UK:; NDY  USA:]

BRITISH CANCER PATIENT GLAD HE DIDN'T USE ASSISTED SUICIDE, OPPOSES EUTHANASIA. David Williams, 51, is a father of three with a spinal tumor who considered ending his life. Williams was diagnosed with the tumor in 1990 that left him in "excruciating pain." "I was 35 at the time and they (the surgeons) brought me down and said, 'In two years you will probably be in a wheelchair and you probably won't reach 40,' " he told the BBC. "It was a bit of a bolt out of the blue really," he added. Williams told the BBC that the six months after the operation he relied heavily on friends and family and palliative care. "While I was in all sorts of pain and agony it was very clear to me the distress I was causing the family, especially with Lynne just having (had) the baby and having two children, I did consider euthanasia," he said. [9May06,, London]

EUTHANASIA CASES INCREASE IN THE NETHERLANDS FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR. The Regional Oversight Boards for Euthanasia indicated there were 1,933 euthanasia deaths in 2005, up from 1,886 in 2004 and 1,815 in 2003. However, the agency also said that only about half of all likely euthanasia deaths are reported to the federal government. The nation's law allows for mentally competent patients to say they want to end their lives. They must be terminally ill and two doctors must sign off on the decision before giving the patients the lethal drugs. The Dutch agency that reported the new figures indicated doctors did not follow guidelines in three cases and those were referred to judicial authorities for prosecution. Some pro-life residents of the country wear specialized bracelets telling doctors to provide them with lifesaving medical treatment if they are injured and unable to make their own medical decisions. [Amsterdam, 3May06,]