The Bill (HLB 4, session 2004-05; ISBN 0 1 084 1 8839) seeks to legalise, for people who are terminally ill, who are mentally competent and who are suffering unbearably, medical assistance with suicide or, in cases where the person concerned would be physically incapable of taking the final action to end his or her life, voluntary euthanasia. The Committee's report examines the ethical principles underlying the Bill and its practical implications if it were to become law, as well as considering the experience of other countries which have enacted similar legislation (including the Netherlands and the state of Oregon in the United States) and public opinion in Britain on the matter. The report draws attention to a number of issues for further consideration by the House, including assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia; concerns of covert euthanasia; qualifying conditions; palliative care; a minimum waiting period; the responsibility of doctors and other health care professionals; and the administration of pain relief.
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