An assisted dying law would not result in more people dying but in fewer people suffering.
Today an Assisted Dying Bill has been tabled in the House of Lords by Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC, former Secretary of State for Justice. Both Lord Falconer and Dignity in Dying believe that within upfront safeguards, dying people should have choice and control over the manner of their death – they should not have to suffer against their wishes.
This is an important parliamentary attempt to legalise assisted dying for terminally ill adults in the UK.
Lord Falconer said:
This new law will safeguard patients, protect family members and ensure that the medical profession can be involved. Furthermore, strictly limited to terminally ill, mentally competent adults, the Bill will not result in more people dying, but in fewer people suffering.
Over three quarters of the public believe the Bill should become law
A recent YouGov poll (pdf) found 76% of adults in England and Wales support the proposals in this Bill which would allow terminally ill adults of sound mind the choice of an assisted death.
The people who took part in the poll were given information about the safeguards built into the Bill. These safeguards would be overseen by two independent doctors and include that the individual had six months or less to live and had made a clear and settled decision with time to consider all other options.
Cross parliamentary support
The Bill has vocal supporters from members of all political parties.
Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Avebury:
This Bill can save a small but significant group of terminally ill patients from an agonising death. There is no way it could be misused, or that its rigorous safeguards would allow its limited purposes to be widened.
Crossbench Peer, Baroness Murphy:
As a doctor, the relief of suffering at the end of life and respecting dying patients’ individual sustained wishes about their own care take precedence. I welcome this Bill as an opportunity to clarify a difficult and complex area of current law and allow patients who are terminally ill to make real choices about life’s end.
Conservative Peer Lord Dobbs:
The right to life that we all enjoy should also provide the right to a dignified death wherever possible. So long as appropriate and rigorous safeguards are in place, I want to see that right to a dignified death established in law.
An Act against unnecessary suffering
He asked many times why his suffering was being prolonged
An Assisted Dying law would mean that people like Colin Marriage would not have to suffer unnecessarily at the end of their life. Colin was diagnosed with terminal Cancer in 2012. Despite having access to some off the best end of life care Colin still went through extraordinary and unnecessary suffering during the last weeks of his life.
You can read Colin’s story here.
How you can help
If you want to support the campaign and put an end to unnecessary suffering at the end of life please read James’ blog post and sign up to the campaign.
Vocalising your support will make a real difference.