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CMF General Secretary urges members to oppose euthanasia bill

Published: 16th May 2003

Dear CMF Member,

Re: New Euthanasia Bill

Would you write a letter to one or more members of the House of Lords in order to persuade them to oppose a dangerous bill which would legalise Dutch-style euthanasia throughout Britain?

Lord Joffe's Patient Assisted Dying Bill has its second reading (debate stage) in the House of Lords on 6 June. The full version of the Bill is at www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld200203/ldbills/037/2003037.pdf

If passed it will legalise euthanasia for any patient with an 'irremediable condition' (defined as 'a terminal or serious physical illness') with 'unbearable suffering' (as defined by the patient!) provided that two doctors can confirm that the patient is of sound mind and has made the request voluntarily.

The Bill would open the floodgates to euthanasia in this country given the current climate of favourable public opinion, some willing doctors and a cost conscious NHS.

Groups like the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and UKActNow are waging a major propaganda campaign to persuade Members of the House of Lords to support the Bill and at a meeting on 7 May to oppose it members of the House of Lords said that they had received virtually NO letters opposing the bill.

There is a broad coalition forming against this bill including Lord Alton and the all party prolife group, Rowan Williams, Robert Winston and Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford. But it is essential that they have the support of the General public and especially doctors.

It is best to keep your letter to one side of A4 and make some of the following points in your own words:

  1. Voluntary euthanasia is unnecessary because alternative treatments for the symptoms prompting requests for euthanasia exist
  2. Requests for voluntary euthanasia are rarely free and voluntary and any patient who feels a burden to carers, family or socity is particularly vulnerable
  3. Voluntary euthanasia violates all historically accepted codes of medical ethics including the Hippocratic Oath, the Declaration of Geneva and the International Code of Medical Ethics
  4. In the recent ORB poll released on 13 May 61% of 986 doctors surveyed by doctors.net opposed any change in the law to allow euthanasia.
  5. Voluntary euthanasia leads inevitably to involuntary euthanasia as we have seen in the Netherlands and Nazi Germany
  6. Voluntary euthanasia gives too much power to doctors and makes them the most dangerous people in the state.
  7. The House of Lords in 1994 opposed any change in the law to allow euthanasia after an extensive enquiry and concluded that 'it was virtually impossible to ensure that all acts of euthanasia were truly voluntary and that any liberalisation of the law in the United Kingdom could not be abused.' They 'were also concerned that vulnerable people - the elderly, lonely, sick or distressed - would feel pressure, whether real or imagined, to request early death.'
  8. The British Medical Association has consistently opposed euthanasia and still does.
You will find plenty more ammunition on the CMF website euthanasia page.

You can find a list of members of the House of Lords on the internet at www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldinfo/a-z.htm along with instructions about how to address them. Alternatively, there is a list of peers with an over 50% attendance level. You need to write to each individual at the following address:

House of Lords
LONDON
SW1A 0PW

I cannot stress enough how important it is that people write to oppose this bill. The Abortion Act which has led to the deaths of 6 million unborn children in this country since 1968 was passed because too few people, especially Christians, protested.

Please pass this letter on to anyone who you think may be interested in doing something.

Yours sincerely

Peter Saunders
General Secretary
Christian Medical Fellowship
6 Marshalsea Road
London
SE1 1HL

Tel: 020 7234 9660

Email: peter.saunders@cmf.org.uk

For further information:

Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668

Media Enquiries:

Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225

About CMF:

Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.

CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.

Christian Medical Fellowship:
uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
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