A poll commissioned by Scope, a national charity that supports disabled people and their families, shows that a majority of disabled people have concerns about a change in the law on assisted suicide. The Telegraph reported on this poll in an article entitled ‘Allowing assisted suicide would ‘pressurise’ disabled to kill themselves’.
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:
“As is often the case when debating the merits of increasing patient choice at the end of life, the Telegraph article conflates the issue of legalising assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults with legally permitting assisted suicide for non-terminally ill people.
“Rather than asking the 500 disabled people polled whether they agreed with the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill people, the poll asked ‘How concerned or otherwise would you be about a change in the law to legalise assisted suicide?’ If asked this same question I would say ‘very’.
“Dignity in Dying and our Patrons are advocating assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults only – not assisted suicide. The debate about how best to end unnecessary suffering at the end-of-life is an important one on which everybody’s voice should be heard, and we welcome Scope’s significant and continued contribution – but we must ensure that we are debating the same thing.”
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 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%.
For all Dignity in Dying media enquiries, please contact Jo Cartwright on 020 7479 7737 / 07725433025 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.