Intended for healthcare professionals


House of Lords votes against immunity from prosecution for relatives who help in assisted suicide abroad

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 09 July 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2797
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

    An attempt to change the law to give legal protection to relatives and friends who help terminally ill loved ones to travel abroad for an assisted suicide has failed in the House of Lords.

    The amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill moved by Lord Falconer, a former Labour lord chancellor, was defeated by 194 votes to 141 after an impassioned debate.

    It would have given immunity from prosecution to those who helped a terminally ill friend or family member go to a place where assisted suicide is legal, such as Switzerland.

    Under the Suicide Act 1961, actions taken in England and Wales …

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