Thursday, June 30, 2005

BMA drops euthanasia opposition

Doctors have voted to drop their opposition to changes to the law which would allow terminally ill patients to be helped to die.

The British Medical Association conference said it should end its current stance against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

When the BMA discussed the issue earlier this week, doctors spoke powerfully for and against change.

But delegates backed a neutral position at Thursday's vote.

They agreed that the question of the criminal law in relation to assisted dying was "primarily a matter for society and for Parliament".

Doctors backed a motion stating: "The BMA should not oppose legislation which alters the criminal law but should press for robust safeguards both for patients and for doctors who not wish to be involved in such procedures."

The BMA now neither opposes or backs campaigns for assisted dying.


Different models have been established in countries where some form of right to die has been allowed.

In Holland, assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia are responsible for one in 40 deaths.

Whereas, one in 700 deaths in the US state of Oregon are from assisted suicide - voluntary euthanasia is not allowed.

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BBC News


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