Great Britain: doctors continue to oppose assisted suicide

Publié le 23 Jun, 2016

Members of the British Medical Association (BMA)[1] have clung steadfastly to their refusal to practice assisted suicide. They had to make an announcement on 21 June following a motion suggesting that the BMA “should adopt a neutral position in relation to assisted suicide”, shortly after Parliament had rejected a draft law on medically assisted dying. Two-thirds of delegates voted against this motion. British doctors are “strongly opposed to euthanasia” and want to focus their energy on improving end-of-life care.


Just before the debate, 5000 people encouraged the BMA to consolidate its consistent approach: the refusal of assisted suicide. Those in favour of the latter regretted the fact that this motion was rejected and felt that there had been no debate. However, Doctor Mark Porter, Council President pointed out that this was the 8th time in 13 years that the BMA had examined this issue and “nobody can credibly say that this issue has been suppressed or obfuscated…”.


Examples of foreign countries where euthanasia has been legalised were broadly discussed during the debate along with extending the conditions of euthanasia and the spin-offs currently facing these countries. The meaning of the term “neutrality” was also debated: a “facilitator” concept that would create a breach and encourage a change of opinion by doctors encountering assisted suicide is not under discussion. Doctor Mowat stated that, “a move to medical neutrality would indicate acceptance or indifference to assisted suicide; where doctors have surrendered their opposition abroad, it removed a major obstacle to legislation.

Care not killing (21/06/2016)

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