A legal challenge has been submitted regarding a poll by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) on its official position on assisted suicide.
Christian Medical Fellowship calls on doctors to respect 'clear rejection' of assisted suicide
The Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) is calling on the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) to respect what they call a 'clear rejection' of assisted suicide by its members and to maintain its previous position of opposing any change in the law.
CMF says that since the last time the RCP surveyed its members on the issue in 2014, the most prevalent view remains opposition to assisted suicide by a significant margin (roughly unchanged at 43.4%).
It says the numbers wanting the college to take a neutral stance have actually dropped from 31% to 25%.
This is because roughly the same percentage have moved from being neutral to supporting a change in the law (24.6% to 31%).
CMF says that despite being the least supported option among RCP members, the College decided before the poll was even taken to impose a neutral position by demanding a super majority for any of the other two stances.
It argues that adopting "neutral' is in reality a vote for change in the law, since the RCP is now dropping its public opposition to the introduction of any new legislation.
CMF's CEO, Dr Mark Pickering, comments: "The RCP's bizarre approach to this poll has meekly followed the agenda of those who wish to change the law. The Council's twin decisions: to impose neutrality before the survey was carried out, and to require a supermajority to change this position, are undemocratic and without precedent.
"The actual poll results show once again that opposition to assisted suicide is clearly the most prevalent view of RCP members. The RCP should now respect this and return to its previous position of opposing any changes in the law on assisted suicide".
Following the publication of the results of the poll, RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard said:
"It is clear that there is a range of views on assisted dying in medicine, just as there is in society. We have been open from the start of this process that adopting a neutral position will mean that we can reflect the differing opinions among our membership.
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