Today, the British Medical Association voted overwhelmingly to oppose the legalisation of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. Commenting on this result, the campaign director of Care NOT Killing, Dr Peter Saunders,said:

"This is a fantastic result for the many organisations campaigning against euthanasia. It is a very important result in terms of political and public opinion. It means that the medical profession in the UK is now firmly united in its opposition to any form of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. This sends a very clear message to the public and to MPs – doctors who care for dying patients understand the serious dangers that would arise from legalising euthanasia. They have come a clear conclusion today at the BMA conference that legalised killing would create more problems than it would solve.

"Their verdict - that we need better palliative care for the terminally ill - sends a clear message that what we need to do is to kill the pain and not the patient. The argument that decided this vote and the similar vote in the House of Lords last month is a simple one. For sick and vulnerable patients the danger is that the right to die could become a duty to die as they feel pressure, whether real or imaginary, from family, carers and society at large to request early death.

The BMA vote has rescued patients from embarking upon the slippery slope towards full blown euthanasia in the UK".

Motions

That this Meeting:

(i) believes that the ongoing improvement in palliative care allows patients to die with dignity;
84% for, 16% against

(ii) insists that physician-assisted suicide should not be made legal in the UK;
65% for, 35% against

(iii) insists that voluntary euthanasia should not be made legal in the UK;
65% for, 35% against

(vi) insistes that non-voluntary euthanasia should not be made legal in the UK;
94% for, 6% against

(v) insists that if euthanasia were legalised there should be a clear demarcation between those doctors who would be involved in it and those who would not;
82% for, 18% against

(vi) requests that all members of the BMA be balloted on this issue. (Needed a two-thirds majority to be passed due to cost involved):
43% for, 57% against