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Just 8% of disabled people surveyed believe disability rights groups should maintain their opposition to assisted dying

The first survey of disabled people specifically focused on assistance to die for the terminally ill also finds that 79% support Lord Falconer’s assisted dying bill

it is time for disability rights campaigning groups to shift to a neutral stance on the issue of assisted dying; reflecting the different and varied views of disabled people in this country

Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying (DADiD); a group set up and coordinated by disabled people, campaigning for those who have terminal illnesses to have the right to choose an assisted death, have today launched a new survey into disabled people’s views on assisted dying.

The survey found that of 1,036 disabled people asked, 79% support a change in the law to allow the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults within strict legal safeguards. Support dropped by just under a third when asked about support for assistance to die to non-terminally ill people.

The survey also asked disabled people what position they felt disability rights groups should take on assisted dying. 46% believed disability rights groups should remain neutral on the issue, 36% believed they should support assisted dying and just 8% felt the groups should oppose legalising assisted dying for terminally ill people. 74% of those asked would want the choice of assisted dying made available to them if they were facing the end of their lives.

Greg Judge, Co-ordinator of DADiD, said:

“This new poll shows that disability rights groups do not always represent the viewpoint of disabled people on all issues. This survey shows that it is time for disability rights campaigning groups to shift to a neutral stance on the issue of assisted dying; reflecting the different and varied views of disabled people in this country rather than dismissing the opinion of the majority as irrelevant.

“This survey finds that there is little difference in levels of support for assisted dying between people with disabilities and non-disabled people, as a previous poll this year found that over three quarters of the general public support this change.”

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:

“This poll finds that disabled people also support a change in the law to give mentally competent, terminally ill people the right to an assisted death in the UK. Law change would make the choice available to people who are dying, not people living with a disability.

“Dying people should not have to suffer against their wishes. Within upfront safeguards they should have choice and control over their own death. The current law, which turns a blind eye to compassionate amateur assistance to die, does not provide adequate safeguards. A new law will safeguard patients, protect family members and ensure the medical profession can be involved. Ultimately, Parliament must act and in doing so take account of the vast majority of people who support change regardless of whether they are religious or disabled.[1] [2] [3]


Notes to editor:

For all Dignity in Dying and Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying media enquiries, please contact Michael Charouneau on 020 7479 7732 / 07725433025 or at

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,036 disabled adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th – 13th November 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have not been weighted to be representative of all disabled adults.

About DADiD:

Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying (DADiD) was set up in 2013 as an official arm of Dignity in Dying. DADID is a campaign group for disabled people in support of assisted dying, co-ordinated by Greg Judge, which comprises disabled activists and experts from across the UK.


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 25,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.


[1] YouGov (2013)

[2] McAndrew S (2010) Religious faith and contemporary attitudes, in Park A, Curtice J, Thomson K, Phillips A, Clery E, Butt S (eds) British Social Attitudes: 2009-2010. The 26th Report London, Sage: 87-113

[3] Clery E, McLean S, Phillips M (2007) Quickening death: the euthanasia debate, in Parks A, Curtice J, Thomson K, Phillips M and Johnson M (eds.) British Social Attitudes: the 23rd report – perspectives on a changing society London, Sage: 35-54