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79% of disabled people support a change in the law on assisted dying

Today has seen a great article in The Times which covers the first poll to specifically ask disabled people about assisted dying for the terminally ill.

Commissioned by Dignity in Dying, YouGov (PDF) surveyed 1,036 disabled people and found that 79% supported a change in the law on assisted dying – with support falling away for assisted suicide for non-terminally ill people.

This has been what Dignity in Dying, and more recently Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying (DADiD), has been trying to get across; that a clear majority of disabled people, like non-disabled people, support  those who are dying to have the choice of an assisted death.

Only 8% of the disabled public think disability rights groups should oppose assisted dying

The Times reports that the findings ‘clash’ with the arguments of prominent disabled rights campaigners and groups, and  the poll indicates those groups who remain opposed to assisted dying are out of touch with the views of those they represent. Indeed, the poll found that:

  • 46% believed disability rights groups should remain neutral on the issue of assisted dying
  • 36% believed disability rights groups should support assisted dying
  • 8% believed disability rights groups should oppose assisted dying

“…one group cannot be generalised and used as a reason to prevent dying people having greater control over their death…”

It is right that opponents in any discussion are heard and that we continue to have debates on assisted dying either in public or on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. However what is clear, as has been seen with healthcare professionals and religious people, is that one group cannot be generalised and used as a reason to prevent dying people having greater control over their death, when that death is inevitable and unavoidable.

The Times article concludes by saying opinion polls have consistently shown that about three quarters of the public want a change in the law but political leaders have refused to take action.

Along with Inter-faith leaders for Dignity in Dying and Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying’s work, DADID has shown another reason why Parliament must act against suffering.

The YouGov poll is available to download here (PDF)