Day 18: The House of Lords Approves Assisted Dying Bill for Committee Review

Assisted Dying Bill [HL] 2014-15
Private Members’ Bill (Starting in the House of Lords)
Sponsor: Lord Falconer of Thoroton (July 18, 2014)

It’s an over used expression, but today was an historic day in the UK’s House of Lords.

After 9 hours and 43 minutes of debate, 133 speakers (although I’ve seen the number pegged at 129), and a deluge of extremely well spoken 4 minute speeches, the House of Lords approved Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying bill for Committee review.

The graphic at the top of the page shows where Falconer’s bill now stands, in the Committee Stage. You can also download the bill and read it in full here.

It’s hard to tell whether or not the assisted dying bill will make it out of committee and onto further debate and voting, but I’m going guess no.

The popular support for an assisted dying law remains strong in the UK (around 75%-80%) but the political will in both houses of Parliament is low.

You can read the Death Reference Desk’s complete coverage of Assisted Dying issues over the last five years here.

The Guardian also ran a really interesting infographic piece today on the numbers of people who use assisted dying laws where it’s legal to do so.

Here is a link to the House of Lords video from today’s debate. I’ve also embedded the entire debate below.

It was thrilling and exhausting to watch today’s debate. I commend all of the speakers for their professionalism and delivery. More than a few times I wondered if this kind of respectful discussion could ever occur in the US Senate.

Per usual, the Death Reference Desk will keep the updates coming.

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