Joffe Bill – Statement by Archbishop Peter Smith

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“The defeat of Lord Joffe’s Bill is very important and welcome. Over the past two years Lord Joffe’s various proposals have been subject to an extensive debate both in parliament and in the media. The clear decision of the Lords on his latest assisted suicide Bill reaffirms the view of the House that the law should not be changed.

“A wide ranging coalition of groups which came together under the Care not Killing Alliance played a major role. Opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia comes from many people of all faiths and none, and includes many with disabilities, lawyers, doctors and other healthcare professionals. It needed concerted action by all of us together, and I would like to thank all those in the Catholic community whose active engagement made a significant contribution.

However, this issue has not gone way, and inevitably will return to Parliament at some point. I dearly hope that the Care not Killing Alliance will continue to press for good palliative care to be much more readily available. I also hope it will continue to highlight the dangers of any change in the law. Assisted suicide and euthanasia cannot be the way forward for a civilised society. Instead, we should all be working together to ensure that the benefits of good palliative care are available to all who need them.