British Parliament to Consider OKing Suicide Tourism, Pro-Life Groups Opposed

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Parliament to Consider OKing Suicide Tourism, Pro-Life Groups Opposed

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 20
, 2009

London, England ( — The British parliament will consider an amendment to a bill on Monday that would allow suicide tourism by not charging people with assisting suicide when they take their loved ones to another nation to kill themselves. Britain has a law banning assisted suicide, but it hasn’t been enforced in those cases.

If selected by the speaker, MP will debate and vote on the amendment on Monday afternoon. Patricia Hewitt, the former health minister, is the sponsor of the amendment that could be added to the Coroners & Justice Bill.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is calling on pro-life advocates to contact their MPs to oppose the amendment.

"The amendment’s effect would be to make it lawful to help anyone travel to a country where so-called assisted dying is legal so that they can commit suicide," SPUC told

"Although this amendment is primarily aimed at those who are disabled or chronically ill, it applies to anyone who may be suicidal – old, young, depressed, in debt, disabled, etc.," the group adds. "It will make all those who may be suicidal easy prey to unscrupulous people. Ask MPs to oppose and vote against the amendment."

"Please tell your friends and pro-life contacts. Please ask clergy to encourage their congregations to telephone their MPs urgently," SPUC continues.

The move to officially legalize suicide tourism follows a February ruling from Britain’s top judge saying courts will not uphold prosecution charges against families who take their loved ones to other countries to die by assisted suicide.

The case involved Debbie Purdy, who wants her husband not to go to prison for taking her to a Swiss euthanasia center.

Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, indicated courts would throw out any such charges against family members.

He said there were “broad circumstances” under which courts would not uphold the nation’s law against assisted suicide.

Combined with the recent statements from the Director of Public Prosecutions, it appears Britons have free reign to take their loved ones to Switzerland to kill themselves without facing any prosecution

The amendment would make that official.

ACTION: MPs can be contacted by email via or by telephone through the House of Commons switchboard number 020 7219 3000.

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