On 3 July 2012, Care Not Killing – in association with CARE and Right to Life – has organised a Rally in Westminster to promote better palliative care and oppose the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia. There will be contributions from an exciting array of expert speakers, including the Rt. Hon Ann Widdecombe, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Jim Dobbin MP, Fiona Bruce MP, Dr Peter Saunders, Brian Iddon, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Prof Lord McColl of Dulwich and others. Please do come and be encouraged and equipped to defend the law and protect the vulnerable!
Although we are still in the first half of this year we have already witnessed the publication of the so-called Falconer Commission promoting assisting suicide, three Westminster parliamentary debates in which parliamentarians have spoken out in favour of changing the law, the announcement that a new Bill is to be published in the Scottish Parliament legalising assisted suicide and a number of high profile cases in the courts which are being used by those promoting a change in the law to try and change public opinion. This has been accompanied by some extraordinarily biased media reporting, such as the recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme on Tony Nicklinson, a man with ‘Locked-in' Syndrome who is challenging the law on murder by seeking permission for a doctor to be allowed to end his life.
In addition, on 4 July 2012, the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (now called Dignity in Dying) is organising a Lobby of Parliament and has put on a day of events with high profile speakers in Westminster to champion their cause. Supporters are being invited to attend a day of events promoting a change in the law and have been urged, at some point during the day, to visit their Member of Parliament and press him or her to fight for the legalisation of assisted suicide.
What can we do?
The above might appear to reveal a rather bleak picture, but this is not to say that everything is going against us. There are those both inside and outside of Parliament who are fighting hard to preserve our laws and ensure the vulnerable are protected. The debates in Parliament mentioned above have also borne witness to strong opposition to any change in the law, which has been tremendously encouraging, and the Falconer Commission did not have the impact or gain the press attention the authors hoped for. However, we cannot be complacent. This is why CARE is standing together with other concerned individuals and organisations to ensure we do not rest on our laurels.
What's the plan on 3 July?
1. ‘How to talk to your MP about assisted suicide: a workshop' | 10:00am – 11:00am
You can register from 9:30am and will hear from a number of speakers including Fiona Bruce MP, Dr Peter Saunders of CNK and Dan Boucher of CARE. This first hour will provide you will material you can use and suggestions about how best to approach your Member of Parliament. The venue will be the Emmanuel Centre at Marsham Street, just a five minute walk from Parliament.
2. Meet with your MP | 11:00am – 2:00pm
This time has been set aside for you to meet your MP in Parliament (there are further details about how to do this below). The Emmanuel Centre will remain open as a base throughout, serving coffee and tea, where people can wait before seeing their MP and return to afterwards.
You have the right to turn up in parliament at any time and ask to meet your MP. However, we would encourage you to contact your MP before 3 July and ask for a meeting, ideally between 11:00am and 14:00pm. If they offer you a time that clashes with another part of the day we would encourage you to take it nonetheless. If it clashes with the workshop, please contact the CARE office and we will be happy to provide you with some guidance about how to get the most out of your meeting. If your MP cannot meet you on 3 July, we would still encourage you to join us and to ask for a meeting on an alternative date in your constituency at which you can make use of everything you learn on 3 July.
3. Parliamentary Rally to promote better palliative care and oppose the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia | 2:00pm – 3:00pm
We will then return to the Emmanuel Centre for the parliamentary rally when we will hear from the parliamentarians listed above.
The Emmanuel Centre will remain open until 4:00pm for those who wish to stay and chat.
Don't worry if you are unable to participate in the full programme – please just join us for what you can. If you plan to attend, it would help if you sent a short email to public.affairs a_t care d_o_t org d_o_t uk to let us know.
***A flyer advertising the day can be found here***
We do hope that you will be able to join us on 3 July – why not come with a group of friends or a delegation from your church? This will be a great opportunity to encourage one another and be encouraged, to learn more about the current situation regarding assisted suicide and euthanasia and to let MPs know that we don't think the law should be weakened.
Yours in Christ,
Chief Executive & Head of Public Policy