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Press Release:More than 100,000 sign Petition opposing Euthanasia Bill

Printer-friendly version Thousands of protesters will descend on Parliament today (Friday May 12) to voice their opposition to Lord Joffes Bill to legalise doctor-assisted suicide in the United Kingdom.

Thousands of protesters will descend on Parliament today (Friday May 12) to voice their opposition to Lord Joffe’s Bill to legalise doctor-assisted suicide in the United Kingdom.

Their leaders will present to 10 Downing Street a petition signed by more than 100,000 people in just four weeks demanding an end to such attempts to change the law.

On the day of a critical vote in the House of Lords, they will warn that the so-called assisted dying Bill is a slippery slope to full-blown euthanasia for old, depressed and seriously ill patients.

Campaigners against the Bill fear that it would create scope for abuse – such as the killing of disabled babies and the sanctioning of involuntary euthanasia, both of which have happened in Holland where euthanasia has been legally sanctioned for 20 years.

Care Not Killing, which represents more than 30 charities and health care groups, is warning that the Joffe Bill would put the old and the sick under intolerable pressure to end their lives, not least because of severe pressures on health and long-term care services.

CNK campaign director Dr Peter Saunders said: “We believe that this is a very bad Bill and one that would create great problems for old and sick patients and the medical and nursing professions. Over the past few days as the public has become aware of the issues at stake, people have been signing our petition opposing the Bill at the rate of 10,000 a day. More than 100, 000 people have signed the petition we will present to Downing Street today.

“Against this background of popular dissent, we believe it is right that the House of Lords should pass judgement by holding a vote at second reading and halting moves to legalise euthanasia in the UK. It is time to take a stand against this  grossly misguided measure.”

The CNK campaign will culminate in the launch today in the House of Lords of a new group Not Dead Yet UK dedicated to helping disabled people resist the Joffe Bill. The launch will be followed by a rally of disabled people and other protesters in Parliament Square.

Jane Campbell, covenor of NDY UK, said: "”We oppose Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill because it is damaging and dangerous to terminally ill and disabled people.

“By singling us out for legalised killing it feeds the myth that our lives are not worth living. If assisted dying is legalised it will create pressure, particularly on those who are newly disabled, to end their lives. 

She continued, “If they really want to help us, Lord Joffe and other people of influence, should turn their attention to campaigning for proper health and social care support, so we can live our lives with dignity."

CNK also pointed to an opinion poll from CommunicateResearch published this week showing that two people in three are worried that the Bill will put old and vulnerable people at risk and make it harder to detect rogue doctors such as Manchester GP Harold Shipman.

A series of surveys of eminent medical bodies, such as the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Association for Palliative Medicine and the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have all produced overwhelming majorities of doctors against the Bill.

CNK also rejected claims by Lord Joffe that opponents of the Bill have broken an undertaking not to push the matter to a vote in the House of Lords today.

A CNK spokesman said: “We have checked this suggestion with the House of Lords authorities and have been told it is incorrect. Provided that notice has been given it is perfectly proper and with precedent for a vote to take place at second reading.

“If the Bill is given an unopposed second reading, it will be taken as approval of the principle of the Bill. This would be an affront to democracy given the strong opposition across the country, disabled rights groups and the medical profession to this measure.”

NOTES TO EDITORS;

CNK PROGRAMME FOR FRIDAY MAY 12

10.00 AM LAUNCH OF NOT DEAD YET UK CAMPAIGN IN COMMITTEE ROOM 4 and TV Interview Room, HOUSE OF LORDS

11.45 AM APPROX: CNK PETITION AGAINST JOFFE BILL DELIVERED TO 10 DOWNING STREET


12 NOON; CNK RALLY IN PARLIAMENT SQUARE – UNTIL 2 PM

Speakers include doctors, church leaders, disabled rights campaigners, politicians.

Ends

For media inquiries: Katie Perrior 07958 459398; Jo Tanner 07956 365864, Nick Wood 07889 617003

Press release from Not Dead Yet UK

For immediate release

 

Assisted Dying Bill threatens Disabled People

Disabled people’s lives will be put at risk if Assisted Dying is legalised. This is the warning from Not Dead Yet UK, a campaigning network of disabled people being launched at the House of Lords on Friday. The group aims to raise awareness of disabled people’s opposition to Lord Joffe’s Bill on Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill.

“Not in our name” says Jane Campbell, convenor of Not Dead Yet UK (NDY UK), pointing out that not a single disabled people’s organisation, national or local, has come out in support of this Bill.

Members of NDY UK, some of whom have terminal illnesses will be explaining their fears to the media and the peers on

Friday, 12th May 2006 between 10am and 11:30am. Venue: Committee Room 3, House of Lords

The meeting will be hosted by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff and Co-Chaired by Lord Carter of Devizes.

Until now debate on this issue has been left to the medical profession, religious groups and the courts. But what about the people the Bill is supposed to help?

Jane Campbell, speaking on behalf of NDY UK, said,

 "”We oppose Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill because it is damaging and dangerous to terminally ill and disabled people. By singling us out for legalised killing it feeds the myth that our lives are not worth living. If assisted dying is legalised it will create pressure, particularly on those who are newly disabled, to end their lives.  She continued, “If they really want to help us, Lord Joffe and other people of influence, should turn their attention to campaigning for proper health and social care support, so we can live our lives with dignity."

Ends

Notes to Editors:  see over

  1. Not Dead Yet UK is a campaigning network of disabled people founded in 2006 to oppose legislation on assisted dying for disabled and terminally ill people. 
  2. NDY UK is an international ally to Not Dead Yet, USA http://www.notdeadyet.org/
  3. Not Dead Yet UK promotes equality for disabled people in a secular context; it is not faith centred or allied to any organised religion. Its supporters come from all sections of the community. Its guiding principles are to value the lives of disabled people and oppose Assisted Dying.
  4. Photo-opportunity: After the above meeting, Not Dead Yet UK will partner Care Not Killing in delivering a petition to 10 Downing Street. http://www.carenotkilling.org.uk
  5. For more information, see RADAR: “Assisted Dying - the facts” at http://www.radar.org.uk/radarwebsite/tabid/109/default.aspx
  6. For media enquiries please contact:-
  7. For case studies or to arrange interviews with disabled people who are directly affected by Lord Joffe's Bill, please contact Sue Maynard-Campbell 01924270335

Andrea Minichiello Williams

LCF Public Policy Officer

0771 2591164

http://www.lawcf.org

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