BMA-House meeting strongly supports assisted dying

BMA House in Tavistock Square, London, home to the British Medical Association since 1925.

A meeting has been held at BMA House in Tavistock Square, the home of the British Medical Association since 1925, to discuss assisted dying law reform.1

The meeting, chaired by Lord Moynihan and attended by eminent doctors, dignitaries and the President of the Free Church Council, discussed and voted on the motion:

"That in the interests of humanity it is desirable that voluntary euthanasia subject to adequate safeguards should be legalized for persons desiring it who are suffering from incurable, fatal, and painful disease."

Familiar arguments for and against were proffered by a range of speakers. In addition a range of letters of support and apologies for inability to attend in person were read, from Lord Ponsonby, Sir Frederick Menzies, Sir P. Varrier-Jones, Mr McAdam Eccles, Sir John Robertson, Sir Arnold Wilson MP, Miss Eleanor Rathbone MP, and a small number of well-known clergy.

Rev. Norwood, President of the National Free Church Council, strongly supported the motion.

The motion was put to the vote and passed by a majority of ten to one.

The year? 1935.

The meeting established the Voluntary Euthanasia Legalization Society of the UK.

Subscription to the Society was set at a minimum of five shillings (about £57, US$76 or AUD$100 in today's money), but this was once only and not annually, "for it was hoped the society would soon disappear, owing to the success of its efforts."

Founding members were just a little over-optimistic.


1. Fleming, RA 1935, 'Voluntary Euthanasia', British Medical Journal, vol. 2, no. 3910, p. 1181.


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