The Christian Medical Fellowship is strongly urging the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) to ditch their planned "biased" poll on assisted suicide, which requires a 60 per cent supra-majority vote to remain opposed.
The doctor's group has encouraged its members to sign a letter to the head of the RCP, Dr Andrew Goddard, calling on the College "to abandon the survey and instead, if it so desires, to conduct polling in the fair and democratic way it has approached previous polls on this issue."
So far over a thousand doctors, including CMF members have signed this letter.
Philippa Taylor, Head of Public Policy at CMF explains: "Even if 59 per cent of doctors were to oppose assisted suicide in the poll - which is the current position - and only one per cent favour a position of neutrality, the College would go neutral - this would be both absurd and undemocratic."
"The current laws on assisted suicide and euthanasia exist to protect those who are sick, elderly, depressed or disabled from feeling obliged to end their lives. It protects those who have no voice against exploitation and coercion. Indeed, the doctors who are often the most opposed to assisted suicide are the palliative care doctors, who look after dying patients every day.
One or two members of the College Council are closely connected with a campaign group that lobbies for assisted suicide and euthanasia, which may have influenced the planned poll. Philippa warns that "It is highly likely that the college has come under the influence of several advocates and campaigners for assisted suicide. Getting a College to go 'neutral' is often the first step to breaching the defences against assisted suicide. But 'neutrality' for a doctor would be equivalent to standing by and saying to a patient 'I don't care if you kill yourself'. This should never be an issue for indifference, it must be opposed."
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