By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Incredible news. The Marris assisted suicide bill in Britain was defeated today by an overwhelming vote of 330 to 118.
This victory is due to the incredible work of the disability rights group, Not Dead Yet UK, and the co-ordinating efforts of the Care Not Killing Alliance.
Not Dead Yet maintained a presence in the media by writing articles and through social media / YouTube videos to clearly state why people with disabilities oppose assisted suicide. They also organized successful rallies on several occasions, including this morning, to ensure that Members of the British parliament understood that people with disabilities oppose assisted suicide.
The Not Dead Yet campaign slogan – Assist us to Live Not Die – resonated with the public as well. Actress, Liz Carr effectively countered the message from the “British elite” that assisted suicide is a progressive issue.
BBC News reported:
Fiona Bruce, the MP for Congleton, said the bill was so completely lacking safeguards for the vulnerable that “if this weren’t so serious it would be laughable.”
Her impassioned speech concluded: “We are here to protect the most vulnerable in our society, not to legislate to kill them. This bill is not merely flawed, it is legally and ethically totally unacceptable.”
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition urges our world-wide partners to learn from the British campaign.
First: The disability rights leaders were not only front and center in the campaign against assisted suicide, they also held successful rallies at the British parliament. These committed disability rights leaders and individuals were joined by other supporters.
Second: They communicated within their leadership and consulted other concerned people and designed a campaign with common messages. They did not present themselves as only one voice, but they did maintain message discipline.
Third: They did not have money but they did maintain an effective social media campaign. The suicide lobby featured well known entertainers, while, other than Liz Carr, a well known actress and disability rights activist, the Not Dead Yet campaign featured real people who live with disabilities.
Fourth: All of the groups worked independently but in unity.
Congratulations to everyone who worked to overwhelmingly defeat the Marris assisted suicide bill. You are responsible for protecting people from assisted suicide.