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Archbishop of Southwark urges faithful to voice opposition to assisted suicide

Archbishop Peter Smith (Mazur/

The Archbishop of Southwark has called on Catholics to write to their MPs about the dangers of legalising assisted suicide.

Archbishop Peter Smith, issued a statement yesterday which read: “Very many people of all faiths and none will be concerned about a Bill to legalise Assisted Suicide in England and Wales which will be debated in the House of Commons on September 11 2015.

“This private members Bill, introduced by Rob Marris MP, will have a free vote and it is important that people make their views known to their own MP ahead of this extremely important debate. Information about the issues, together with resources and guidance will be circulated to all parishes in the next week or two. There are excellent resources on the Bishops’ Conference website and the website of the Anscombe Bioethics centre.”

He continued: “I strongly urge Catholics to contact their own MP as soon as possible to express their concern about the dangerous impact which such a Bill would have on the most vulnerable people. MPs do listen to their own constituents. What is needed is more and better palliative care, not assistance with suicide.”

Rob Marris announced that he would be introducing the Private Members’ Bill after he came top in the Private Member ballot in June.

The Bill is expected to be very similar to the legislation introduced by Lord Falconer of Thoroton before the general election which would allow assisted suicide for terminally-ill patients who are expected to live less than six months.