In a society where we have been brought up to take personal responsibility for our lives, many people feel that they are the ones best able to make decisions about their death too.
MDMD is a right to die campaign organisation which wants to see a more compassionate approach to dying in the UK, including giving people the legal right to a medically assisted death if that is their persistent wish. We believe that people should have more control over the manner and timing of their death in order to minimise their mental and physical suffering. To us it seems perfectly reasonable for people to decide that “enough is enough”. They should not be expected to “fight on until the bitter end” by well-meaning medical professionals, friends or relatives, if that is not what they wish for themselves. While good palliative care can help in many situations, it can not relieve suffering due to mental decline, loss of dignity, and feelings of “just wanting to go to sleep and not wake up” when someone rationally accepts that their life is complete.
MDMD contributes to the public discussion of right to die issues. We work alongside other organisations such as FATE, BHA and Dignity in Dying, to expose the inadequacies of the current law and to help define a safe, broad, workable alternative. In particular, we provide a forum for those who share our belief that assisted dying should not be restricted to the “terminally ill” especially when this is interpreted as having a medical prognosis of 6 months or less to live.
Find out more about what MDMD does and us as an organisation by clicking on the subsections below:
- To campaign for a change in the law in the UK to allow medical assistance to die to be given to mentally competent adults, with incurable health problems that result in their perceived quality of life falling permanently below the level they are able to accept, providing this is their own persistent request. (Most of the people who the proposed change in law will apply to will be relatively elderly, feeling that their life is complete.)
- To promote debate and discussion in the media on issues connected with end-of-life choices and assisted dying.
- To promote the wider acceptance and use of Advance Decisions (“Living Wills”) and Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare in the UK.
- To support and work with other organisations that also campaign for a change in the law on assisted dying in the UK to further our common goals. In addition, to maintain contacts with other relevant organisations around the world.
- To create and maintain communities of members who can give each other support and guidance in examining options for a legal medically assisted death abroad, until such time as there is a satisfactory law in the UK.
Dignity in Dying is the largest UK right to die campaign group. It was formed in 1935 as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. However, in 2005 it changed its name to Dignity in Dying and restricted its objectives to a change in the law only for those who are terminally ill (meaning having a medical prognosis of 6 months or less).
In contrast to this, MDMD provides a focus for those who wish for what we believe is a more compassionate right to die solution than Dignity in Dying advocate. We strongly believe that the 6 month limitation would prevent assistance to die for many who desire it, in particular those suffering from long term degenerative diseases such as MS, MND and dementia.
Friends at the End (FATE) has objectives very similar to those of MDMD, but it is based in Scotland and focuses on a change in the Scottish Law. FATE and MDMD have joint meetings in London every 6 months.
British Humanist Association (BHA): The BHA campaigns against religious discrimination or privilege in all aspects of society. It has a clear policy on assisted dying which is similar to that of MDMD. In addition to seeking help for the “terminally ill”, the BHA would like to see a law that applies to those who are “permanently and incurably suffering”. How much “suffering” should one have to tolerate, though? How permanent is “permanent”? MDMD believe that a better criterion to use is based on an assessment of the individual’s quality of life prospects and their wishes for themselves. Unlike the BHA, MDMD does not take a religious position. It is open to supporters of any religion or none.