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SPUC condemns neutral euthanasia decision by doctors' colleges

15 October 2004

SPUC condemns "neutral" euthanasia decision by doctors' colleges Westminster, 15 October 2004 - The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has condemned the decision to go "neutral" on euthanasia by the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners (RCGP) and of Physicians (RCP). Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "This is very frightening for patients and will do enormous harm to doctor/patient relationships. It is a huge disservice to RCGP and RCP members - ordinary doctors working hard to serve their patients." The decision was declared in a hearing on Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill which aims to legalise assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. In evidence to a parliamentary select committee on the Bill, the RCGP said that it has "now adopted a neutral stance on the moral and ethical issues surrounding this Bill". "How can the doctors' professional bodies be neutral on the fundamental ethical question of whether or not doctors should kill their patients? Why have these two doctors' Royal Colleges ignored the Royal College of Nursing's consultation of nurses which received an 'overwhelming response' opposing the Bill and 'reaffirm[ing] the core principles which lie at the heart of nursing: valuing life and ensuring patients are well cared for'? The RCGP and RCP's position abandons their nursing colleagues and divides the medical profession into one group which kills and another which cares," Mr Ozimic continued. "Earlier this week the House of Commons gave a Second Reading to the Mental Capacity Bill, which would enshrine passive euthanasia (deliberate killing by starvation&dehydration) in statute. David Lammy, the government's spokesman, created vocal opposition to the Mental Capacity Bill among speakers in the debate by his failure to address concerns that this government Bill will also allow euthanasia. "With doctors' professional bodies abandoning their opposition even to active, lethal injection-style euthanasia in the Joffe Bill, we fear that the medical profession will not hesitate to cite the Mental Capacity Bill, if passed, as justification for passive, dehydration-style euthanasia. "The Joffe Bill and the Mental Capacity Bill are two sides of the same euthanasia coin. The worldwide euthanasia movement has declared that the legalisation of euthanasia by dehydration is one of its key goals in its campaign to legalise euthanasia by lethal injection. As long ago as 1984, the past president of the World Federation of Right-to-Die Societies, Helgha Kuhse, said: 'If we can get people to accept the removal of all treatment and care - especially the removal of food and fluids - they will see what a painful way this is to die and then, in the patient's best interests, they will accept the lethal injection'. "Every MP who claims to oppose the legalisation of euthanasia must now act on their words by writing to the Government demanding that the Government promise to block the Joffe Bill and drop the Mental Capacity Bill", concluded Mr. Ozimic.

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