Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, said:
“Exit International’s plans are irresponsible, and potentially dangerous. They have no real control over who accesses the information they provide or uses these kits, and so vulnerable people may be put at risk.
“Dignity in Dying believes that terminally ill, mentally competent adults should have the choice of an assisted death if they feel their suffering is unbearable but only within strict legal safeguards. These safeguards are fundamental in order to allow choice whilst protecting vulnerable people.
“The law at present is a muddle, despite Government proposals via the Coroners and Justice Bill to make it explicitly clear that encouraging suicide is illegal whether in person or online. We need a law that distinguishes between malicious or irresponsible encouragement of suicide and compassionate assistance of a terminally ill, mentally competent adult to die at their request. The failure to provide a safeguarded law creates a vacuum in which groups like Exit International can operate.
“We hope that as the Coroners and Justice Bill progresses through Parliament, MPs and Peers will address this issue as a matter of urgency.”
Notes to editor:
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 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.
Opinion polls consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population supports a change in the law on assisted dying.
Please contact James Harris by telephone on 020 7479 7739 or 07725 433025 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org