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Religious leaders' letter against assisted suicide welcome, says pro life group

29 June 2009

Religious leaders' letter against assisted suicide welcome, says pro-life group London, 29 June 2009 - A letter by three of Britain's main religious leaders against assisted suicide has been welcomed by a pro-life group involved in the Debbie Purdy case.

Dr Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster and Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi, writing in today's Telegraph newspaper, oppose amendments to the government's Coroners and Justice bill which would serve to undermine the ban on assisted suicide in English law.

The religious leaders say that the terminally-ill need care and protection, not assisted suicide.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), a pro-life group granted intervenor status in Debbie Purdy's assisted suicide case, welcomed the letter.

John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "The fact that the leaders of three of Britain's main religions, representing millions of followers, have come together to sign this letter demonstates the profound concern that exists in British society about threats to the sanctity of human life. There is widespread disquiet about a growing culture of death in Britain, with euthanasia already allowed in law in some circumstances through the Mental Capacity Act passed in 2005. The amendments proposed by Lord Falconer, Lord Joffe, Lord Alderdice and other peers will serve to threaten the vulnerable with lethal abandonment. Concerned citizens should contact members of the House of Lords immediately, urging them to reject those amendments. "As an independent human rights organisation, SPUC supports the right of religious leaders to speak out on ethical principles. If an action, especially a public one, is incompatible with religious belief, then religious leaders must be free to point this out. Those who call this interference fail to recognise that the moral law cannot be confined only to certain spheres of activity. Morality has a universal jurisdiction."


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