By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The Royal College of Physicians, in the UK, has set-up a sham vote to force assisted suicide neutrality upon its membership. Time after time, British physicians have voted to oppose assisted suicide legislation.
In her opinion article, Doctors cannot be neutral on assisted dying, Dr. Amy Proffitt hits the nail on the head when she writes:
Which brings us back to the Royal College of Physicians and its latest consultation. Activists have failed to get what they wanted before, so they have persuaded the college’s council to change the rules this time. Whereas previously the college adopted the view favoured by the majority of its members – that it should oppose legalisation – it now says it will adopt a position of neutrality unless at least 60 per cent say it should oppose or support legalisation. Yet in the last consultation only 31 per cent wanted the college to have a neutral position. This device is as arbitrary and nonsensical as it is politically-motivated. It reverses the burden of proof and sets the bar at a level which no group – support, oppose or don’t know – could possibly clear. The aim of activists is, of course, to present the resulting ‘neutrality’ to Parliament and the public as ‘doctors drop their opposition to assisted dying’.
Dr. Proffitt then points out that when the Association of Palliative Medicine last polled members, it found that 82% were against legalization and 89% would refuse to participate, if legal. Proffitt concludes by challenging the intentions of the Royal College of Physicians:
This is a question that goes to the heart of clinical practice. For the Royal College of Physicians to tell the world that it has no position on the question of whether doctors should be licensed to aid and abet the suicides of patients is nothing short of astonishing and raises serious questions about the college’s governance. The college should reflect on its role as a medical professional body and not allow itself to be manipulated into playing politics.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.