The British House of Lords voted 148-100 against a measure that would have legalized assisted suicide in the European nation. The vote is a huge victory for pro-life advocates, disability groups and doctors who campaigned together to stop the bill from becoming law.
The Lord Joffe bill would have allowed physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients with less than six months to live. It would have had Britain join the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland as well as the state of Oregon in legalizing the grisly practice.
Peter Saunders, director of the Care Not Killing campaign group that included various organizations, agreed and said before the vote, "We believe that this is a very bad bill and one that would create great problems for old and sick patients and the medical and nursing professions."
The Vote that occurred on Friday, came the same day religious groups wrote letters to members of the House of Lords condemning the legislation, among them Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Catholic Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, and Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, wrote letters to members of the House of Lords condemning the legislation.
"Such a bill cannot guarantee that a right to die would not, for society's most vulnerable, become a duty to die," they wrote.
Together the groups presented petitions of more than 100,000 British residents to Prime Minister Tony Blair urging opposition to the bill.