Care Not Killing has welcomed the news that four senior doctors have launched a judicial review into the "rigged assisted suicide poll" which is being carried out by the Royal College of Physicians' and calls for the results to be "set aside".
The survey is being challenged, because of serious flaws in the process, including the requirement for a supermajority of 60 per cent to maintain the status quo, had no published end date, poor security that potentially allowed non-members to vote, no postal ballots being sent to members without an email address and no independent scrutiny of the poll.
Dr Gordon Macdonald, Chief Executive of Care Not Killing commented: "This rigged assisted suicide poll, which seems to have been designed to produce a particular result must be set aside. It fails many of the basic tests for similar surveys such as fairness - It lacks independent verification, basic security measures and for the first time in the history of the College requires a supermajority. No wonder so many doctors are challenging this survey. In short, it's a sham poll!
"A majority of doctors understand the ethical and practical problems of removing long-held universal values that protect the terminally ill, sick and disabled from assisted suicide, or euthanasia. They also recognise the considerable and ever-present dangers of normalising suicide, not least the pressure that many disabled people and the terminally ill feel. As we have seen in the US and elsewhere, for too many, it's the fear of being a burden on their families and carers that motivates a majority of those ending their lives to take the lethal cocktail of barbiturates.
"Worryingly there is significant evidence that changing the law normalises suicide. Suicide rates in Oregon, where assisted suicide was legalised in 1997, are now 45 per cent higher than the national US average and risen faster than other places. Similar trends can be seen in Holland and Belgium. Our view is clear, doctors and society more generally should be doing everything in our power to prevent suicide, not assist it."
Dr Macdonald concluded: "No wonder every other major doctor's group opposes legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Association for Palliative Medicine and the British Geriatric Society."
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