On Friday 22nd October the Assisted Dying Bill will be debated in the House of Lords. This is known as the ‘Second Reading’ and is the moment that Peers can either throw out the Bill or allow it to go forward for further scrutiny. It is vital that we make our case and get through to as many Peers as we can.
Last time we were in this position, the amazing letters sent by members and supporters just like you ensured that we had all the support we needed to win – we just ran out of time because of an upcoming general election.
The Second Reading will set the tone of the debate as the Bill progresses in Parliament. In the weeks leading up to the debate, it’s important that sympathetic Peers know that assisted dying is:
- Safe, fair and compassionate,
- Wanted and needed by dying people, and
- The only way to prevent specific kinds of suffering at the end of life.
Our unique online form will randomly assign you three Peers and provide their full names and addresses. All you have to do is write the letter as instructed, then press PRINT 1, PRINT 2, PRINT 3 – and each letter will be fully formatted and ready for you to send.
Peers are much more likely to engage with letters that have been personally written, rather than identical letters clearly from the same campaign. Therefore we don’t have a template letter for you.
There is only one key point that every letter should contain: Please attend the House of Lords on Friday 22nd October and support the Assisted Dying Bill. In addition to this, feel free to include your own personal experience and (in your own words where possible) any combination of the below points:
- The Bill will make dying in this country safer, fairer and more compassionate – bringing clarity to the law and restoring public confidence by putting dying people in control.
- The Bill will allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults to request life-ending medication which they can self-administer at a time of their choosing. This is subject to strict upfront safeguards as assessed by two doctors and a high court Judge. The Judge will check that all the safeguards have been met to ensure the process is safe and legal.
- While good end-of-life care can alleviate much of the suffering that dying people may experience, some suffering is beyond its reach. The Office of Health Economics found that 17 people a day will suffer as they die in the UK, because even the very best palliative care cannot relieve all suffering.
- Assisted dying laws have a proven track record overseas. In places where assisted dying is legal, such as Australia, New Zealand and several US States, end-of-life care is delivered to a high standard and safeguards are robust.
- Assisted dying helps people live well for longer and suffer less. Where assisted dying is legal, a third of people who request and are eligible for assisted dying do not go through with the process. For many, the peace of mind of being able to control their death if their suffering is unbearable is enough.
- The Bill protects everyone by including upfront safeguards which treat all people equally when they are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
For all these reasons please urge Peers to attend the Second Reading debate and speak in support of the Bill becoming law.
Remember, it’s important that every letter you send:
- Is personal, polite and persuasive, containing the key reasons why you support a change in the law
- Includes any personal experience that you’re willing to share of the current law not working
- Is brief, ideally no longer than one side of A4
- Ends with a request – be explicit and ask the Peers you’re contacting to attend the debate and speak in favor of the Bill.
You can read the full contents of the Bill on Parliament’s website.
Thank you for taking the time to write – it really will make a difference. Please share any replies you receive with us either by forwarding them by post (no stamp needed):
Freepost Plus RRLK–YTBU–TTJZ
Dignity in Dying
181 Oxford Street
Or send us your feedback in our online form.