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Assisted dying is necessary…so are tolerance and respect.

Robert’s loved ones were fortunate – they had access to good palliative care and the support of their loved ones, and their suffering was relievable by palliative care. Good deaths are possible within the current framework, but not for everyone, some people will suffer despite good palliative care and the support of their loved ones because palliative care cannot relieve all suffering. Those people, a small but significant minority, will suffer at the end of life unless we give them the choice of an assisted death, and that is why I was arguing the case for change on Thursday at the Unitarian Church in Newington Green.

Two days earlier I was at a meeting of the Birmingham Humanists, talking to them about the our campaign and the work of Compassion in Dying in providing tools to enable people to take control of their end of life under the current law – through advance decisions and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

While the speaking events were very different from each other, there was a definite sense of respect and tolerance at both, which have too often been absent at events I’ve attended in the past. This issue isn’t going to go away, nor is the desire for people to explore the issues in debates and discussions so long may the atmosphere of tolerance and respect continue!