The House of Lords yesterday voted against Lord Forsyth’s pro-euthanasia/assisted suicide amendment by 179 votes to 145. The amendment to the Health and Care Bill if passed would have forced the UK Government to draft a bill on euthanasia within a year and present it to parliament.
The result while close is nonetheless a decisive win for those opposed to the legalisation of euthanasia. It is a testament to the strength of the arguments being put forward and the resilience of those presenting them that repeated attempts in both the House of Lords and House of Commons to usher in euthanasia have failed.
Most media outlets in the UK are pushing hard at present for “dying with dignity” legislation. Based on carefully crafted opinion polls carried out by the same media groups, it appears as though the public in the UK is also overwhelmingly in favour of a change to the law.
Members of the House of Lords of course are not oblivious to the debate taking place outside their chamber but any fair minded observer would have to concede that both sides of the argument are given a much fairer and equitable airing in the houses of parliament than on the media airwaves.
Yesterday’s result is another reminder not to get disheartened by relentless media campaigns but instead we should be encouraged to keep going with our efforts and keep encouraging members of the medical profession and people with personal stories to step forward and have their say in this hugely important life and death debate. As has been said in the past and can be repeated again, this battle is far from over.