News / Press Releases
07 Jul 2009: Dignity in Dying statement: Vote on Lord Falconer's amendment
After a three hour, wide ranging debate, Lord Falconer's narrow amendment on
"Whilst saddened that we didn't win, I am encouraged by the 141 Peers who agree with me that the current legal mess is un
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:
"I am thankful that so many Peers, whether they voted for or against, engaged with this issue. A small majority do not agree with us and the wider public on this issue, but we will continue to fight for something that so many others feel very passionately about. We need to protect the vulnerable but we also need to allow mentally competent, terminally ill adults to make important life decisions for themselves."
Notes to editors:
Result of the vote on Amendment 173 to the Coroners and Justice Bill:
141 Peers voted in favour of the amendment.
194 Peers voted against the amendment.
Amendment tabled by the Rt Hon the Lord Falconer:
Insert the following new Clause-
"Acts not capable of encouraging or assisting suicide
(b) prior to the
(c) prior to the
(2) A declaration by T is made under this subsection if the declaration-
(a) is made freely in writing and is signed by T (or is otherwise recorded and authenticated if T is incapable of signing it),
(b) states that T-
(i) has read or been informed of the contents of the certificates under subsection (1)(b), and
(ii) has decided to travel to a country or territory falling within subsection (1)(a) for the purpose of obtaining assistance in dying, and
(c) is witnessed by an independent witness chosen by T.
(3) "Independent witness" means a person who is not-
(a) likely to obtain any benefit from the death of T; or
(b) a close relative or friend of T; or
(c) involved in caring for T.
(4) D is not to be treated as having done an
The Rt Hon the Baroness Jay of Paddington
The Lord Lester QC
The Lord Low
Coroners and Justice Bill, relevant clauses:
Suicide (Clauses 49 to 51)
These clauses amend the Suicide Act 1961 with the aim of modernising and simplifying the law without changing its scope. This is in order make it clear that it is illegal to encourage suicide via the internet.
Dignity in Dying supports the Government's efforts to better protect young and vulnerable people who may be encouraged to commit suicide by others, regardless of whether this is done via the internet or via other means. However, while we welcome these amendments on the condition of proper legislative scrutiny, we are extremely concerned that these amendments fail to address a wider problem with the law, which is that at present (and as proposed) the law fails to distinguish between those who assist and/or encouraging suicide and those who assist the death of a terminally ill, mentally competent adult who feels their suffering has become unbearable.
About Dignity in Dying:
· Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and
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