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British Doctors Vote To Be Neutral On Euthanasia And Assisted Suicide
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 1, 2005

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND--Doctors with the British Medical Association have voted to stop opposing efforts to make euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide legal in the United Kingdom.

During its five-day annual conference, the members voted to take a neutral position on the issue, neither supporting nor opposing it.

The statement reads: "The BMA should not oppose legislation which alters the criminal law but should press for robust safeguards both for patients and for doctors who do not wish to be involved in such procedures."

Some members said the issue should be left up to society and the government to debate and decide on, rather than doctors.

The BMA had opposed legalization for nearly four decades. The change comes as "right-to-die" supporters are pushing for political support to have an assisted suicide law pass in the next Parliamentary session.

Many disability rights groups oppose legalizing assisted suicide and other forms of "mercy killing". They claim that such laws would make people with the most severe disabilities more vulnerable, especially during a time when the costs of medical treatment are increasing.

In areas where such practices are legal, safeguards have not prevented people with disabilities -- rather than people in the final stages of terminal illness -- from killing themselves or being killed.

Related:
"BMA drops its opposition to doctor-assisted suicide" (The Times)

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8122-1676243,00.html
"BMA drops euthanasia opposition" (BBC News)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4637835.stm

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