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SPUC welcomes euthanasia bill’s absence from Queen’s Speech and announces mass lobby

26 November 2003

SPUC welcomes euthanasia bill’s absence from Queen’s Speech and announces mass lobby London, 26 November 2003 - The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has welcomed the absence of the draft Mental Incapacity Bill from the Queen's Speech, delivered today, and has announced a mass lobby of parliament on 27 April. John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, commented: "It is excellent news that the government's Mental Incapacity Bill, which would allow euthanasia by neglect, has been left out of the Queen's Speech. "There is no doubt that a large majority of the written submissions to the parliamentary joint committee which considered the Bill were opposed to the Bill. We are deeply grateful to all those who made submissions and to the thousands who have telephoned their MPs in recent weeks to oppose the introduction of the bill. "However, the danger of widespread euthanasia in Britain is still very real whilst the government's draft bill remains in the wings. "The present government says it is against euthanasia. But it makes a qualification. While it claims to oppose the idea of active euthanasia - such as lethal injections - its draft Mental Incapacity Bill would change the law to allow euthanasia 'by neglect'. Patients with conditions like dementia, stroke or traumatic brain injury would be at risk from euthanasia 'by neglect', which means being killed by withholding their basic medical care or even food and fluids. "Because of these concerns, SPUC will hold a mass lobby of parliament on 27 and 28 April next year. The lobby will focus on highlighting the threat of euthanasia by neglect contained in the draft Mental Incapacity Bill, as well as the practice of the deliberate starvation and dehydration of vulnerable patients which is currently widespread in British hospitals as I know from my own family's experience during the past year. "SPUC's mass lobby of parliament will be held on the 36th anniversary of the Abortion Act coming into force. To anyone who thinks that we should not oppose the introduction of the Mental Incapacity Bill because it allegedly has good parts on financial and social welfare matters, all I can say is this: would it have been right not to oppose the introduction of the Abortion Act if it had included good parts giving child benefit and housing rights to pregnant women?" SPUC will be commenting later this week on the report to be issued by the parliamentary joint committee which considered the draft bill.

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