Quite simply, I campaign for dignity in dying because I think the current law is cruel and incoherent. And, crucially, I think it can be improved.
Anyone who has witnessed “a bad death” will know that, in some cases, the current law forces people to suffer.
From this premise it seems to me that the question is: would a change in the law increase or reduce suffering? Of course, it’s possible to argue that it would increase it and this is an argument I have looked at seriously. But the evidence indicates that this it is not the case.
At the moment, the law seems to be an ethical and practical muddle. You can go to Switzerland and seemingly not be prosecuted. If you act compassionately and in an amateur capacity you can (probably) assist a person to die in the UK without retribution. So the law is not taking a strong ethical stance against assisted dying, it’s basically saying: you can have assistance so long as our society doesn’t have to deal with it. This doesn’t make much sense to me.
So I think the campaign for assisted dying is a really important one; a change in the law can prevent very real suffering. Since I started working at Dignity in Dying I’ve been amazed by the extent of support amongst people I meet day to day.
It’s a real privilege to work on something I feel so strongly about and which I know means so much to so many others too.
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