LONDON, October 11, 2005 ( – Days after expanding into Germany, the Swiss euthanasia provider, Dignitas, revealed plans to open a counterpart in Britain.

The Independent On Line revealed Sunday that Dignitas, the Swiss euthanasia group responsible for killing 453 people since its launch by Ludwig Minelli in Zurich in 1998 – including 37 Britons – will open a centre in the UK, based on a claim of “growing demand.”

The move was announced as Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O’Connor and the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, stepped up their opposition to a proposal before the House of Lords to legalize euthanasia.

Church leaders from across the spectrum of denominations opposed Lord Joffe’s assisted dying bill Monday, before a Lords select committee on assisted dying. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, in comments made on BBC1’s Sunday AM, warned that, by legalizing euthanasia, the UK will be crossing a “moral Rubicon.” He added, “I would be against this law, not because I haven’t got sympathy but I also have sympathy for the law which protects life.”

Despite watching his own mother succumb to a slow death from dementia, Archbishop Rowan Williams maintained his church’s firm stand against euthanasia. He said he opposed euthanasia “chiefly on the grounds of my religious commitments – the conviction that life is a gift from God that we cannot treat as a possession of our own to keep or throw away as we choose,” according to a Mail on Sunday report.

Minelli officiated at the opening of a new Dignitas office in Germany in late September.

See related coverage:
  Swiss Euthanasia-Providing Group Branches Out to Germany
  Swiss Lure Suicide Victims: Euthanasia Administered Within 24 Hours
  Inquest Opens into Couple’s Double Suicide Death at Swiss Dignitas Facility