Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, the UK’s leading organisation campaigning for greater patient choice at the end of life, said:
“It is irresponsible, and potentially dangerous, to provide information on how to end life without safeguards or control over who accesses the information. Due to the lack of a safeguarded choice at the end of life some people are forced into making desperate and dangerous decisions – the answer is not to provide information on how to commit suicide, contrary to the law. What is desperately needed is a fully safeguarded change in the law. These safeguards are crucial. We want clarity and choice for terminally ill adults, but in a regulated, safe way that will protect vulnerable people.
“Legalising assisted dying will regulate a practice that already exists. In doing so, we will face up to our responsibility to allow real choice and better protection for the vulnerable. Change will come, as it has in other European countries and in Oregon and Washington in the United States. Society as a whole, and specifically Parliament, need to address this issue as a matter of urgency. The status quo in which Nitschke is able to operate is unacceptable.
“As of now the best course of action is not to give Nitschke the platform he so desperately craves.”
Notes to editor
About Dignity in Dying:
· Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.
· Dignity in Dying has over 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.
· Opinion polls consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population support a change in the law on assisted dying.
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