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Message to supporters following the vote against the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill (15 May 2006)

Message to supporters following the vote against the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill

Many of you will be wondering what will happen now that the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill was defeated 148-100 on Friday 12th May.

This vote represents the closest ever Parliamentary vote on this issue, and if not for a substantial number of Bishops and Archbishops who voted en masse, the vote would have been virtually even. This is hugely encouraging. In fact some of the opposition went back on the recommendation in the House of Lords Select Committee report that the Bill should have a formal second reading and then proceed to a Committee of the whole House. Led by religious leaders, the opposition stopped debate by forcing a vote.

The Catholic Church described its attack on the Bill as the largest political campaign in its modern history. The Anglican Church said it was the largest financial donor to Care not Killing. Their massively funded and orchestrated campaign against the Bill employed grossly misleading arguments. Despite all this, well-informed public opinion has remained utterly firm that, despite excellent palliative care being available, they wish to see terminally ill people have a legal right to be able to ask for medical help to die. Many Churchgoers say they are disaffected by their religious leaders’ position and are not happy with how their money has been used. 77% of Anglicans supported the Bill last week.

This gives the Bill’s opponents much to think about.

Our campaign is greatly encouraged by the overwhelming public support. People clearly wish to see the law changed. We intend to continue to campaign in Parliament and we are now reviewing how best to bring a new Bill forward.

Dignity in Dying wishes to thank the many of you who have donated or helped us to campaign. Your efforts and support are enormously appreciated. If you are not actively involved in our campaign, please get in touch. You really can make a difference.

Thank you.

Deborah Annetts,

Chief Executive, Dignity in Dying.