UK experts: Assisted suicide legally possible

An independent panel of experts in the U.K. says there is a strong case for changing British law to help terminally ill people die.

In a report Thursday, the Commission for Assisted Dying described the legal status of assisted suicide in Britain as "inadequate and incoherent." It is illegal to help a terminally commit suicide, but prosecutions are rare. In 2009, the government's top prosecutor said most people who help terminally ill friends and family members die were unlikely to be charged.

The Commission said it would be possible to legally allow assisted suicide for terminally ill people under strict criteria: those who were at least 18 years old and who were making a voluntary choice free from or .

The experts called for additional safeguards should be legalized, including requiring patients to be seen by at least two doctors. The system would not let doctors administer a lethal dose but would give such medication to the patient to take when he or she chooses after the other criteria has been met.

"The Commission is not recommending that any form of euthanasia should be permitted," the report said.

Critics, however, say the commission was biased, and the British Medical Association refused to participate in the report. The commission is supported by Dignity in Dying and other advocates who favor changing the law.

One anti-abortion group labeled the report "a renewed attack" on disabled and elderly people.

"This is part of a thoroughly nasty strategy to convince the public that many want to die," Paul Tully of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said in a statement.

More information: Commission for Assisted Dying report: http://www.commissiononassisteddying.co.uk/

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Montana 3rd state to allow doctor-assisted suicide

Jan 01, 2010

(AP) -- The Montana Supreme Court said Thursday that nothing in state law prevents patients from seeking physician-assisted suicide, making Montana the third state that will allow the procedure.

Assisted suicide _ Canada revisits an old debate

Dec 05, 2011

(AP) -- Confined to a wheelchair, in constant pain and unable to bathe without help, a 63-year-old grandmother has forced the issue of assisted suicide into Canadian courts for the third time in two decades.

Recommended for you

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

16 hours ago

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according ...

Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

Oct 23, 2014

A French physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula One champion struck his head in a ski accident says he is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.

User comments