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New book demands action on assisted dying

Last Rights: The Case for Assisted Dying has been published to spark a grown up conversation about dying in the UK

Co-written by Chief Executive Sarah Wootton, and Policy and Research Manager Lloyd Riley, with a foreword by Daniel Finkelstein and afterword by Baroness Molly Meacher, Last Rights is a powerful call to arms.

Last Rights Book CoverThe coronavirus pandemic has made society’s relationship with death and dying everybody’s business. We have had to confront new challenges around the way we care for dying people, but old problems have not gone away.

Terminally ill people continue to suffer unbearably against their wishes, denied true choice and control over their deaths under our archaic assisted dying laws and instead are forced to resort to drastic measures at home or abroad. Limited options already fraught with risk and stress, such as travelling to Dignitas, have been made even more so or impossible by current restrictions.

The pandemic has shown society what terminally ill people have always known: that we are getting dying wrong in this country. It’s time for a grown-up conversation about it, and as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and build a new normal, a parliamentary inquiry into the blanket ban on assisted dying has never been more urgent or necessary.

Last Rights: The Case for Assisted Dying starts that conversation, bringing to light the heart-breaking testimony of those who have witnessed unimaginable suffering at the end of life and exposing the hypocrisy of the arguments put forward to oppose progress. It sets out a new standard of dying fit for the 21st century; one built on compassion and honesty, not fear and paternalism.

“There exists physical pain beyond the reach of morphine. Terminally ill patients of sound mind but suffering unbearable agony should be empowered to choose, legally and peacefully, the moment of their death. The religious convictions or paternalistic instincts of doctors are irrelevant. So argues this wise and beautifully poised book. It makes its powerful case for assisted dying with compassion, decency and moral depth.”
Ian McEwan

“If you think you know what you think about assisted dying, pause for a moment. Read this urgent, cogent, necessary book – and then think again.’
Julian Barnes

“Last Rights provides the blueprint for a new approach to death and dying and all should read it. Not to allow citizens to choose how and when they die seems to me criminal. The current law is confusing, heartless and causes unnecessary pain, suffering and expense. We need the public to make their views known, and we need the government to act.”
Prue Leith

“In this deeply troubling time, we are united in working to protect our loved ones, our neighbours, our friends and ourselves.  And, where required, to reduce suffering, pain and fear. This little book has the same objective and I highly recommend it. I have been a supporter of Dignity in Dying for a good few years. Its policies are ones of compassion, safety and care. Please read Last Rights.”
Patrick Stewart

From votes for women to equal marriage, campaigners have had to fight for rights that now seem sacrosanct. Last Rights asks how future generations will judge us if we fail to take action and issues a call to arms for people to unlock their power and demand change.

Last Rights: The Case for Assisted Dying is available now online and in bookshops.