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New survey shows overwhelming support for assisted dying

The new British Social Attitudes survey shows huge support for assisted dying for those who are suffering, across the board, with only 19% fewer religious people supporting assisted dying than non-religious people.

The survey found that seven in ten (71%) religious people think a doctor should be allowed to end the life of a patient with a painful incurable disease, as do nine in ten (92%) non-religious people. This represents 82% overall support.

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive at Dignity in Dying said:

“These new survey results are heartening. They show an increase on what was already strong and consistent support for assisted dying. The vast majority of people, religious and non-religious, support assisted dying.”

“Unfortunately public support doesn’t translate into positive change. Politicians are failing to represent their constituents, and Church Leaders continue to speak out against assisted dying, despite the majority of their congregations wanting to see a change in the law.

“We urge Politicians to take notice of the public desire for a change in the law to allow the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults, at home in the UK. Change will come once the voices of this huge majority are heard above the few who oppose it.”


Notes to editors:

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.

– Surveys consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population supports a change in the law on assisted dying.

Media Contacts:

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Information about the survey:

– This summarises findings from ‘Religious faith and contemporary attitudes’ by Siobhan McAndrew, in NatCen’s British Social Attitudes: the 26th Report, to be published by Sage on the 27th January 2010. The Report is edited by Alison Park, John Curtice, Katarina Thomson, Miranda Phillips, Elizabeth Clery and Sarah Butt. Sage is at:

– NatCen, Britain’s largest independent social research organisation, aims to promote a better-informed society through high quality social research (