British MPs must make a decision on assisted suicide before the summer

Publié le : 14 March 2014

 A draft bill authorising assisted suicide in England and Wales will be presented to MPs "before the summer". The free vote principle has been chosen, i.e. MPs will not receive any instructions from their party and will be able to make a conscious decision.

The draft bill has been prepared by Charles Falconer, former labour minister and member of the House of Lords (United Kingdom’s upper chamber) and President of the Independent Commission on Assisted Suicide.

What the draft bill says. It concerns patients "who have less than six months to live", who are in full possession of their "faculties" and who can make a "voluntary, informed choice". In fact, the physical condition of the candidates must be examined in advance by two medical professionals who should provide them with alternatives. A period of fourteen days will then elapse between signing the declaration and providing the poisons. Patients will either chose to administer the poison themselves under the "monitoring" of a professional or they will ask someone else to administer it.

The government is mostly against this bill, starting with Prime Minister David Cameron. The Anglican Church has also voiced its opposition to assisted suicide, reiterating its 2012 statement, "society cannot uphold individuals who deliberately and actively terminate prematurely the life of other people […] this is something that has not figured in our legal framework since the abolition of capital punishment".

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