British House of Commons to debate assisted suicide bill.

By Alex SchadenbergInternational Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 

First posted on Alex's blog on June 10th.

The British House of Lords has debated many assisted suicide bills over the past few years. In fact the House of Lords debated the Falconer assisted suicide bill in the past year, a bill that died on the order paper before the election. The House of Commons has not debated an assisted suicide bill in 20 years.

Yesterday backbencher British Labour MP, Rob Marris, was chosen first in the Private Members bill ballot giving Marris the right to introduce Falconer's assisted suicide bill in the House of Commons.

According to the BBC, the Marris assisted suicide bill is scheduled for its first hour of debate on September 11.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who has a majority government, opposes assisted suicide. The Express and Star reported that Cameron told his weekly Prime Minister's Question Time that:

"I don't support the assisted dying proposals. I don't support euthanasia."
...problems with the existing law can be 'dealt with sensitively' without 'bringing in euthanasia'."

The Express and Star reported that Mark Atkinson, the interim chief of the disability rights charity - Scope warned that legalizing assisted suicide would put people with disabilities at risk. The Express and Star stated:

"Many disabled people are really worried about the legalisation of assisted suicide.
"They are concerned that it will lead to them feeling under pressure to end their lives."

While Agnes Fletcher, Director of Living and Dying Well, added: 

"The bill contains very few explicit safeguards."

The Care Not Killing Alliance, Not Dead Yet UK, Living and Dying Well coalition and many other groups oppose the assisted suicide bill because it gives physicians, the right in law to cause the death of their patients when their patients are at the most vulnerable time of their lives.