British Pro-Life Groups Upset by Assisted Suicide Guide in Scotland

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 17, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Pro-Life Groups Upset by Assisted Suicide Guide in Scotland Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 17, 2006

London, England ( — Pro-life advocates in the U.K. are upset that a Scotland euthanasia group has put together an assisted suicide guide for British citizens who may want to travel to Europe to kill themselves.

Euthanasia advocates in Scotland have put together a detailed guide on how to arrange an assisted suicide through the Switzerland-based group Dignitas. The booklet, which is called the UK Guide To Dignitas and costs about $5, lists the costs and procedures for setting up the trip.

Distributed by the pro-euthanasia group Friends At The End (Fate), it was supposedly created in response to numerous requests for information about making the suicide trip. It follows on the heels of several recent high-profile trips British residents have made to kill themselves.

Libby Wilson, with the group, told the Sunday Herald newspaper that the guide was needed because putting together an assisted suicide trip is more difficult than some expect.

“It is really quite a complicated set-up, there are lots of forms you have to fill in and it does take quite a long time,” she said. “You can’t just phone up Zurich and say, ‘Here I am, please take me.’ It is much more involved than that."

Pro-life groups are objecting to the guide, saying it may violate the 1961 Suicide Act, which prohibits anyone from helping to “aid, abet, counsel or procure” a suicide.

Julia Millington, political director of the ProLife Alliance, told the Sunday Herald, “We would be very concerned about the move to promote the services of Dignitas."

"There have been a number of reports of investigations into the activities of Dignitas by the Swiss authorities," she reported. "We feel it would be appropriate for police to investigate the activities of Fate.”

Churches are also upset and a Catholic Church representative told the newspaper, “Groups and material like this clearly do encourage people to consider taking their own life."

"Voluntary euthanasia, as this would be styled, can very easily become involuntary when the climate in a society changes sufficiently that it becomes expected of people," the spokesman added.