More than 90% of the UK public now support assisted dying for certain groups of people, according to research commissioned by campaign group My Death, My Decision.
The new findings have been welcomed by Humanists UK, which believes that individuals who are of sound mind but who are terminally ill or incurably suffering should have a right to decide to end their life at a time and in a manner of their choosing.
The research from the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) polled 2,500 participants and found 93% of the public now considers assisted dying acceptable in at least some situations, even if rarely, when the person is suffering from an incurable illness that will eventually cause their death.
A total of 88% also say that they think it’s acceptable for someone suffering unbearably, from a non-life threatening condition, to receive assistance to die, in at least some situations. The same figure consider it’s acceptable in some cases of dementia for someone to receive life-ending assistance, provided they had consented before having lost their mental capacity.
Humanists UK’s Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson said:
‘This new research shows a record level of public approval for assisted dying reform and indicates the growing number of people who believe that an individual’s right to choose should be the paramount consideration in the assisted dying debate.
‘Individuals should be able to live their lives while maintaining their dignity, autonomy, and choice, and that is only possible if the law is changed. While there must be stringent safeguards in place in any assisted dying law to ensure the system is not misused in any way, the Government must now see how much the public wants it to act on assisted dying.’
The research comes after the launch of the UK’s first Assisted Dying Coalition which was formed last month to campaign for the millions of people who want the right to die. The coalition is made up of six organisations: End of Life Choices Jersey, Friends at the End, Humanist Society Scotland, Humanists UK, and My Death, My Decision.
Recent figures show that more than one citizen per week (233 people) is being forced to make the heartbreaking journey to travel to Switzerland to end their life.
For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7324 3078.
Read more on our work on assisted dying here: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/public-ethical-issues/assisted-dying/
Humanists UK advances free thinking and promotes humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Its work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through its ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, it strives to create a fair and equal society for all.