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2012- 2013: Thank you

The campaign has gained substantial momentum over the past 12 months and we’ve been helped immensely by people like you who’ve engaged, shared and helped to spread the word. Thank you!

Below we’ve pulled together some of the key events from the past year:

Evidence from America continues to show there is no ‘slippery slope’ for assisted dying

This year’s annual reports from Oregon and Washington found that their laws continue to work well.

The Assisted Dying Bill being tabled in the House of Lords in 2014 contains robust safeguards and is based on the Oregon model which has been in place for almost 16 years. As Lord Dubs said during a recent debate in the House of Lords :

“All the assessments conclude that the law worked safely. Eligibility has never been extended beyond terminal illness, nor has there been pressure for it to be extended. Numbers are very low. Assisted deaths have remained stable since 2008 at around 0.2% of all deaths per year. There is no evidence that potentially vulnerable groups are negatively affected. Around 40% of dying people who meet the strict safeguards to obtain life-ending medication never use it, simply taking comfort in having the option.”

Chair of Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying, Prof Ray Tallis has said that legalisation of assisted dying would be safer than the current situation :

“…If there was a slippery slope legalisation would provide crampons rather than ski’s”

Healthcare professionals have been campaigning for neutrality

Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying have continued to campaign for their professional bodies to adopt a neutral stance on assisted dying, Professor Ray Tallis has said that:

“What neutrality would do is prevent the professional bodies from making an ethical argument either in favour or against. An ethical argument that professional bodies are no better qualified to make than patients.”

A survey released this November by Pulse magazine , the magazine for general practitioners, found that two-thirds of GPs want their professional body to drop opposition to assisted dying. Chair of the RCGP, Claire Gerada, has herself stated publicly that:

“…the RCGP’s ‘collective’ view should not trump the view of the man on the Clapham Omnibus.”

Disabled Activists set up campaign group in support of the majority of disabled people that support assisted dying

Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying were founded in October this year and aim to provide a voice in the assisted dying debate to the majority of disabled people who support a change in the law on assisted dying for terminally ill people.

Co-ordinator of the group, Greg Judge, said:

“This new group will campaign to allow assisted dying to be an option to all competent dying people…”

A 2013 YouGov survey released this December and reported in The Times, found that 79% of disabled people support assisted dying for terminally ill adults.

“There is nothing holy about suffering or sacred about seeing someone die in agony”

Earlier this year a poll found that 71% of the religious public support a change in the law on assisted dying.

Inter Faith Leaders for Dignity in Dying – a group of Inter Faith Leaders established to provide a voice for the majority – have continued to hold events and seminars to campaign in support of assisted dying.

Canon Rosie Harper who is a member of the group supported the campaign at the Conservative party conference this year.

“By showing Dignity in Dying’s grassroots support Parliamentarians will be forced to listen and take action.”

This year a growing number of supporters are setting up local groups to campaign for a change in the law.

Since June, six local groups have been created in North London, South West London, Cambridge, Canterbury and Northern Ireland with many more in the pipeline for 2014.

In total there are now over 130 active members, and counting, participating in the local groups; putting on public debates, writing letters and meeting parliamentarians as well as talking to healthcare professionals.

[insert image from recent Oxford group meeting with caption]

Dignity in Dying’s Mike Hamilton who works as a point of contact for the local groups said:

“By showing Dignity in Dying’s grassroots support Parliamentarians will be forced to listen and take action.”

News this year that the Towns Women’s Guild voted at their AGM to support assisted dying is also welcome and comes as a direct result of the efforts of Alva de Chiro who is a member of both Dignity in Dying and The Town Women’s Guild.

Eric Idle, Sir Michael Rawlins and Julian Barnes join the list of patrons campaigning for choice

Eric Idle, Sir Michael Rawlins and Julian Barnes have joined the likes of Sir Patrick Stewart, Prue Leith,  Sir Terry Pratchett and Sir Terence English this year, in support of a change in the law.

As well as campaigning individually our Patrons came together at two of our fundraising events this year:

Voices for Choice: A literary event in June which featured Sir Terry Pratchett and Andrew Motion.

Stand up for Choice: A comedy gig in September which was headlined by Jo Brand and featured Robin Ince and Simon Munnery (YouTube)

Stephen Hawking also voiced his support for a change in the law on assisted dying for terminally ill adults in September:

“I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their lives and those that help them should be free from prosecution …”

Terminally ill adults continue to campaign for their right to choose

Despite the progress of the Campaign this year, terminally ill adults still continue to suffer unnecessarily at the end of life. This year we’ve heard from a number of individuals whose stories have continued to highlight the cruelty of the current law and the need to act against unnecessary suffering at the end of life.

Josh Cook

At 22 Josh is the youngest supporter of Dignity in Dying. He has been diagnosed as having the Huntington’s disease gene and wants to ensure he has choice and control over his death in the future.

Paul Chamberlain

Paul Chamberlain has Motor Neurone Disease and campaigned in the Guardian and on Sky News for Dignity in Dying.

Margaret John

Margaret John is a member of Dignity in Dying. She has terminal cancer and acted as a witness during Dignity in Dying’s intervention at the Supreme Court.

Lucy Aliband

Lucy Aliband, is a volunteer for Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying. She became a supporter of a change in the law after experiencing the death of her mother from a terminal illness.

How you can help in 2014: Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill 2014

2014 is going to be an incredibly important year for the campaign with an Assisted Dying Bill tabled in the House of Lords in the summer.

With your support we believe that this Bill can be successful.

We will be sending updates throughout the year about when your voice will make the most impact.

To make sure you get these updates and make your contribution you can keep up-to-date by:

Signing up to our e-newsletter

• Following us on Twitter

• Liking us on Facebook

Joining the campaign as a member