British MP to Propose Bill Prosecuting Suicide Tourism After Debbie Purdy Case

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 5, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British MP to Propose Bill Prosecuting Suicide Tourism After Debbie Purdy Case

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 5
, 2009

London, England (LifeNews.com) — Now that the British House of Lords has sided with Debbie Purdy in her case to make sure her husband isn’t prosecuted for taking her to Switzerland to kill herself, an MP plans a bill to limit suicide tourism. Last week, the House of Lords said Purdy can avoid the national law.

That law, which has rarely been enforced, makes it so anyone assisting in a suicide could receive as much as 14 years in prison for doing so.

British law covers a person who "aids, abets, counsels or procures" the suicide of another person — which would theoretically include anyone who takes someone to another country for an assisted suicide.

Following the ruling, Tory MP Nadine Dorries said she would file a bill to stop "creeping euthanasia by the back door."

Dorries plans a private member’s bill she will introduce later this year to fight both legislation and attempts by prosecutors to overlook the assisted suicide law. The Crown Prosecution Service said yesterday that it would draft guidelines showing when someone can escape the law.

Her bill faces competition as ministers have already said they will make time in the schedule for Labour MP David Winnick to receive a debate on a bill to legalize assisted suicide.

"I will challenge any moves to legalize assisted suicide. The Law Lords have called for clarification. My bill will seek to make that for proper due care and attention paid to the letter and spirit of the existing law – that assisting suicide is an illegal act," Dorries said, according to the London Daily Mail.

"Whilst a few may feel that they would personally benefit should assisted suicide become legal, many more would be subjected to an unbearable pressure and worry over which they would have no control," she added.

Dorries also chided Keir Starmer, director of public prosecutions, and said it was wrong for him to unilaterally overturn the assisted suicide law by releasing guidelines for when people may not be prosecuted under it.

”The Law Lords called for clarification of the existing law; they did not call for Keir Starmer to assume undemocratic legislative powers and create new law," she told the Daily Mail. "Any change in the law requires a bill, time on the floor and a vote taken by MPs of the House – not Keir Starmer."

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.