THE CASE FOR CHANGE
Forcing someone in unyielding pain or distress to continue suffering against their will is wrong. It’s cruel, inhumane, and needs to change. The option of an assisted death is already a reality for more than 350 million people around the world – including in Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and parts of America and Australia.
Half of doctors in the UK personally support changing the law, and the weight of public opinion overwhelmingly favours a right to die for those with terminal or intolerable conditions. The UK’s law is outdated and lacking in compassion.
RESPECTING END OF LIFE CHOICES
The freedom to live according to one’s own values and beliefs is a fundamental human right – it shouldn’t stop applying at the end of someone’s life.
- Many people who travel abroad for an assisted death are forced to end their lives earlier than they would otherwise wish, because they will become incapable of travelling to Switzerland at a later stage
- The current law does not treat everyone’s choices equally. More than one person a week travels to Switzerland to end their life, but many others cannot afford the costs of doing so. Dying in a manner of your own choosing shouldn’t depend upon your means.
- Between a third and a half of all people who apply for assisted deaths, in countries where it is legal, later choose not to end their life. The security of knowing that they can end their life, should their suffering ever become too much to bear, allows them to live their life without fear.
COMPASSION FOR THE TERMINALLY ILL AND INCURABLY SUFFERING
Advances in modern medicine mean it is now possible to extend the length of someone’s life further than ever before. But, unfortunately, many more people are also suffering for longer.
- Even if everyone had access to the best possible palliative care at least 17 people die everyday without adequate pain relief, and more than 150 people suffer only partial relief. No one facing constant and incurable suffering should be forced to endure a drawn-out, undignified, or painful death
- The current law forces families to make an intolerable choice between letting their loved ones suffer, or helping them and risking up to 14 years in prison
- Many people who travel abroad for an assisted death conceal their plans from friends and family, because they fear that they might inadvertently implicate someone. Nobody should be robbed of their final goodbyes.
STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS FOR THE VULNERABLE
The UK’s ban on assisted dying hasn’t stopped people from asking for help to end their lives. At least one Brit per week travels abroad for an assisted death, and it’s unknown how many covert assisted deaths happen in the UK. The law hasn’t stopped assisted dying, it’s only prevented strong safeguards from being in place.
- Research conducted for My Death, My Decision indicates that nearly a third of all people who have had an assisted death abroad are unknown to the police. The police can’t protect people who they don’t know are having assisted deaths
- In the absence of clear oversight, UK citizens are sometimes driven to seek out advice from unqualified sources. Instead of ending their suffering, this advice often leads to people exacerbating their pain and distress
- Patients often fail to confide in their doctors when they intend to end their life, because they fear they could be prevented from doing so. This means patients are less likely to learn about alternative treatment options or make informed decisions.