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New survey shows overwhelming public support for a law allowing medically assisted dying for the terminally ill (10 March 2008)

10 March 2008

New survey shows overwhelming public support for a law allowing medically assisted dying for the terminally ill

A new YouGov survey, released today, has shown that the majority of adults are in favour of a law allowing medically assisted dying.

76% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that terminally ill people should be allowed medical assistance to die. 56% agreed or strongly agreed that those with a non-terminal but incurable illness should also be allowed medical help to die upon request.

The results are consistent with those of previous surveys , which have indicated overwhelming public support of medically assisted dying for the terminally ill.

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, which campaigns for the legalisation of medically assisted dying for the terminally ill, said:

“This latest survey once again shows that the majority of the public recognise the right to die as a fundamental choice at the end of life. It is common sense that people who are terminally ill, mentally competent and suffering unbearably should be allowed the option of medically assisted dying.”

The results of the YouGov survey coincide with publication of a new book examining the ethical, medical and philosophical arguments on either side of the assisted dying debate. The book, written by Baroness Mary Warnock and Dr. Elisabeth Macdonald, was motivated by the growing movement in many countries to legalise some form of assisted dying.

Wootton continued:

“There are instances where palliative care, regardless of high standards, is not enough to alleviate the constant suffering and loss of dignity that some terminally ill people endure in the final stages of their illnesses.

“The law must change to allow people this choice.”

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Notes to editor

About Dignity in Dying:

Dignity in Dying is the leading organisation in the UK that advocates assisted dying for terminally ill patients and campaigns for greater patient choice at the end of life.
The organisation is also the country’s leading provider in information on end-of-life issues.

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.

An interview with Ashley Riley is available to download at http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/aboutus/.