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DISABLED PEOPLE’S OPPOSITION TO ASSISTED SUICIDE REMAINS STRONG A YEAR AFTER MARRIS ASSISTED SUICIDE BILL DEFEAT

On Sunday 11th September 2016 Not Dead Yet UK and other disability rights activists from around the country will be remembering the first anniversary of the victory over Rob Marris MP’s Assisted Dying Bill on 11th September 2015.

Last year MPs in the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted to reject Marris’ bill, which would allow doctors to legally assist terminally ill people to prematurely end their own lives by 330 votes to 118.  This landslide victory was matched in both the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. In Scotland, MSPs voted against MSP Patrick Harvie’s assisted suicide bill by 82 votes to 16 while in Wales a similar bill was also decisively rejected by 21 votes to 12.

The British Medical Association’s clear opposition to the legalisation of physician assisted suicide was influential in defeating Marris’ bill last September and BMA members voted again in recent months (July 2016), once again voting to reject moves to legalise assisted suicide by 195 to 115, maintaining its strong stance in opposition.

Juliet Marlow, active member of Not Dead Yet UK:

“It is befitting that on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September, 2016) we renew our opposition to legalised Assisted Suicide by remembering last year’s defeat of Rob Marris’ misguided Private Member’s Bill. Just as we would try and do all we can to prevent the suicide of a non-disabled person we will continue to campaign for disabled people to be treated in the same way. Our suicides, assisted or otherwise, should also be accepted as a tragedy – because our lives are equally worth living.”

Liz Carr, comedian and disability activist said:

“One year ago, we sent a clear message to Parliament that we want support, not suicide. We want help to live, not to die. Parliament responded by overwhelmingly rejecting a measure which would have put the lives of elderly and vulnerable people including those those with all types of impairment at risk.

The latest statistics from Washington’s Department of Health show that in the same year assisted suicide was rejected in the UK, the number of physician assisted deaths in the state peaked at its highest recorded level, with over half of those individuals citing that they did ‘not wish to be a burden on others’ and a growing number citing financial pressure as a factor in their decision. This is not about choice in death, this is a failure to support those in need.”

Baroness Jane Campbell said:

“Parliament has looked at the evidence and voted against legalising assisted suicide consistently for decades. Their opinion is not shifting. 74% of MPs voted against this bill compared with 72% back in 1997. The overwhelming evidence suggests that to legislate may possibly alleviate the desperate fears of a small number, whilst putting thousands at risk. Our Parliamentary democracy must protect the nation as a whole. Individual cases make bad law. Our energies should go on supporting and helping the few to have as good a death as possible, which means greater support and resources given to the hospice movement in the UK, more effective social care support and a greater understanding of the needs of elderly and disabled people at end of their lives. We are convinced that if we get that right, people will not desperately ask others to kill them, which is a terrible burden for both to carry.”

ENDS

For interviews or further information please contact Not Dead Yet UK spokesperson Juliet Marlow at emailnotdeadyet@gmail.com

For more information on Not Dead Yet UK visit our website: www.notdeadyetuk.org

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