The British Medical Association Must Not Abandon Its Long-Standing Opposition to Assisted Suicide

Doctors Should Assist Us to Live Not to Die

 

The British Medical Association Must Not Abandon Its Long-Standing Opposition to Assisted Suicide

010,000
  5,810
 
5,810 people have signed. Help us reach 10,000 signatures.

The British Medical Association Must Not Abandon Its Long-Standing Opposition to Assisted Suicide

The British Medical Association (BMA) is holding its Annual Representative Meeting (19-23 June) in Belfast and assisted suicide lobby group ‘Dignity in Dying’ (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) are attempting to hijack the meeting to pressure the BMA to drop its current and longstanding position opposing physician-assisted suicide

This is in spite of the strong parliamentary rejections of assisted suicide last year when the Marris-Falconer ‘Assisted Dying’ Bill was debated in the House of Commons (330-118) and the Harvie-MacDonald Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill was debated in the Scottish Parliament (82-36). The majority of elected representatives rightly recognised the danger that this kind of legislation poses to the most vulnerable in our society as many will inevitably feel that they are a burden to be removed through an assisted suicide.

Above all though, doctors should exist to assist us to live and not to die. With excellent palliative care options, research finds that that the vast majority of people do not wish to kill themselves. This is clearly where the focus of the BMA should lie.

Medical opinion is currently strongly opposed to assisted suicide, in part due to their recognition of the adverse effect that it would have on the most vulnerable in our society: the Royal College of General Practitioners (2014, following 'one of the most comprehensive consultations the College has ever undertaken'), the Royal College of Physicians (London) (2014, following a survey of fellows and members) and the Association for Palliative Medicine (2015, following a survey) all continue to echo the majority of doctors' opposition to physician assisted suicide. The BMA should continue to do the same.

The current stance of the BMA recognises the equality of all people including disabled people and the terminally ill. Permitting assisted suicide in cases of terminal illness and/or disability would be to fail to treat these people as equals. It would encourage suicide in a small segment of the population (the terminally ill and/or disabled people) whilst forbidding it for everyone else. The BMA then would in effect be saying that some lives are worth more than others, and this is something that no one, let alone doctors, should be doing.

It is worth noting especially that the data from Oregon (where assisted suicide is legal) shows that the majority of ‘end of life concerns’ for those who committed suicide, were not medical concerns at all. Instead, they listed existential concerns like ‘loss of autonomy’, ‘loss of dignity’ and ‘burden on family, friends/caregivers’. Feeling like this is a great sadness and something which the medical profession and wider society should do its best to change.

Yet these are not medical problems, which can be solved through medical means. These are personal and social problems whose solution is not death, but love and assistance to live so that people considering suicide for whatever reason are able to see the dignity that was always their’s.

Sign this petition to the BMA ahead of their meeting urging them to continue to oppose physician assisted suicide.

You can write a short personal message to the BMA if you wish to let them know your own particular concerns. #supportnotsuicide #carenotkilling

http://www.carenotkilling.org.uk/medical-opinion/bma-to-debate-assisted-...

https://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationRese...

+ Letter to:

Sign this petition now!

 
Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please enter your email
Please enter your country
Please enter your zip code
CitizenGO will protect your privacy and will keep you informed on this and other campaigns.

The BMA Must Not Abandon its Historic Opposition to Physician Assisted Suicide

For the Attention of Keith Ward, Chief Executive of the British Medical Association,

Dear Mr Keith Ward,

As part of the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting from the 19-23 June, I understand that a small number of activists backed by assisted suicide lobby group ‘Dignity in Dying’ (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) are attempting to hijack the meeting to pressure The BMA to drop its current and longstanding position opposing assisted suicide

In the light of strong recent parliamentary rejections of assisted suicide, I urge the BMA to remain opposed to this uncontrollable, unethical and unnecessary practice.

Many sick and elderly people are deeply fearful of a law which would permit physician- assisted suicide or any medical professional who would promote or assist in suicide. Many disability rights groups are also deeply opposed to physician assisted suicide and do not wish for the BMA to endorse it in any way.

One of the motions proposes that the BMA change its stance on assisted suicide to neutral, but the notion of ‘neutrality’ is in this instance a transparent fiction. There can be no neutral stance on an issue that so profoundly and gravely affects the welfare of vulnerable patients. 

The doctor-patient relationship remains an important one. It is a relationship founded on the confidence that the physician will always do their utmost to protect and care. To endorse assisted suicide would greatly undermine this trust. Whether or not the BMA or any individual intends it, vulnerable people would feel pressure to end their lives from healthcare professionals who should be focused on giving them compassion and hope.

Finally, the data from Oregon (where assisted suicide is legal) shows that the majority of ‘end of life concerns’ for those who committed suicide, were not medical concerns. Instead, they listed concerns like ‘loss of autonomy’, ‘loss of dignity’ and ‘burden on family, friends/caregivers’. Feeling like this is a great sadness and something which the medical profession and wider society should do its best to change. Yet these are not medical problems, which can be solved through medical means. These are personal and social problems for which death is not a “treatment”.

Once again, I urge the BMA to remain opposed to physician assisted suicide and promote the highest quality palliative care for those who are sick and dying.

Patients need assistance to live, not to die.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

The British Medical Association Must Not Abandon Its Long-Standing Opposition to Assisted Suicide

Sign this petition now!

010,000
  5,810
 
5,810 people have signed. Help us reach 10,000 signatures.