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Commission on Assisted Dying launched today

Demos is hosting the launch of a new Commission on Assisted Dying, chaired by Lord Falconer.

Commission will look at the issue of assisted dying. It will consider what
system, if any, should exist to allow people to be assisted to die, and whether
any changes in the law should be introduced.

in Dying helped to facilitate the creation of the Commission, and secured its
funding. Beyond this it has played no
role in the Commission’s development. The
Commission, including the Chair, Commissioners and Secretariat are independent
of Dignity in Dying.

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:

is important that serious minds from different disciplines and perspectives
give thought to the mechanisms of an assisted dying law; one of the most
important social issues of our time. No one wants people to suffer
unnecessarily and against their wishes at the end of their lives, and of equal
importance, no one wants potentially vulnerable people to be at risk of harm
under new legislation. The Commission provides an historic opportunity to
resolve these issues once and for all.”

Commission will investigate the evidence both domestically and from those
jurisdictions that have already legalised and regulated assisted dying, and ask
whether the law can be changed to allow people the choice of an assisted death,
whilst offering sufficient protection from abuse. To this end it will look at
what the criteria and safeguards of any potential law should be, and whether
such a law is preferable to the status quo.

Commission will run from 30 November 2010 to September 2011, ending with a
report in October 2011.

Notes to

About Dignity in Dying:

· Dignity
in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the
end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an
assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to
high quality end-of-life care.

· Dignity
in Dying has over 25,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from
donations from the public.

· The
British Social Attitudes Survey 2010 found that 92% of non-religious and 71% of
religious people support assisted dying. This relates to overall support of 82%.


Lord Charles Falconer, Chair
Professor Sam Ahmedzai
Lord Ian Blair of Boughton
Sir Graeme Catto
Dr Carole Dacombe
Dr Stephen Duckworth
Celia Grandison-Markey
Penny Mordaunt MP
Baroness Elaine Murphy of Aldgate
Dame Denise Platt DBE
The Reverend Canon Dr James Woodward
Baroness Barbara Young of Old Scone


Demos is a
think-tank, acting as Secretariat to the Commission. For more information go to:


For media enquiries relating to the Commission
please contact Beatrice Burks on 0207 367 6325/0792 947 4938 or at

For all media enquiries relating to
Dignity in Dying, please contact Jo Cartwright on 020 7479 7737 / 07725433025
or at