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MPs denounce assisted suicide

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13th June 2014

MPs from all parties have expressed concern over the rising numbers of deaths under Washington state's Oregon-inspired assisted suicide law.

A Parliamentary motion (EDM 86) instigated in the House of Commons last week points to the continually rising numbers of Washingtonians dying under the state's law, which took its lead - as does Lord Falconer's 'Assisted Dying Bill' - from the US state of Oregon. Washington (whose population is barely a tenth of the UK's) recorded 119 assisted suicides last year, marking a 43.4% rise from 2012 and yet the peculiarities of the law means Washington only reports on those who have both been prescribed medication in year and died in year. There is no record of whether individuals who were prescribed medication from previous years died using assisted suicide; to quote influential think tank Living and Dying Well, the 'latest figure may also be on the low side as it does not take account of some recipients of lethal drugs who died during 2013 but whose "ingestion status is unknown".'

Lord Falconer's recently revived Bill will receive its second reading in the House of Lords on Friday 18 July. Click here to find contact details for your MP, with whom you can discuss the Bill while seeking their backing for EDM 86.

The full text of the motion reads as follows:

That this House notes the results of the Washington State Death With Dignity Act Report, 2013, published on 10 June 2014 which concludes that the number of deaths through physician-assisted suicide has tripled since the first year of implementation and increased by 43 per cent between 2012 and 2013; expresses grave concern that 61 per cent of those who received lethal drugs in Washington in 2013 gave as a reason for seeking assisted suicide being a burden on family, friends or caregivers; recalls that those who introduced the law in Washington assured the public that it would only apply to terminally ill, mentally competent patients; and reiterates its belief that a corresponding change in UK law would endanger the lives of the most vulnerable in society.

Read EDM 86

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