The UK Health and Social Care Select Committee has announced that it will be undertaking an inquiry into assisted dying. As part of this inquiry, it has opened a public consultation on assisted dying and seeks views from the general public.
The voices of FATE members must be heard, and we encourage you to respond to the consultation before it closes on Friday, 20th January. We know from the Scottish consultation response that opponents of assisted dying will respond in their droves, promoting anti-choice positions, religious dogma and scaremongering. These are minority views, with, on average, 80% of the UK public supporting a safe, compassionate assisted dying law.
Please take the time to respond to the consultation. It comprises only six questions. Guidance and suggestions on what you might want to include are below.
In other news, the Scottish Parliament has returned from Christmas recess, and Liam McArthur and his team are working diligently on preparing the Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill. We will keep you updated as this progresses, but we are delighted that 2023 is the year the Bill will be introduced to Parliament.
About UK Health and Social Care Assisted Dying Inquiry consultation
The consultation survey asks six questions about your views on the current law and how you might like it to change.
It is crucial that you answer question 1, emphasising that you disagree with the current ban. This is the most important question, as for/against statistics are often used as headlines with the press, which are influential to the campaign. The question asks whether you support the current law that criminalises assisted dying. Please select the second option here “I broadly disagree with the law on this issue in England and Wales”.
This is a text box that gives you 300 words to explain why you believe law change is necessary. In this box you can include:
- Personal stories, testimonies and anecdotal examples – we know this human element persuades legislators.
- You support assisted dying to the extent that you do, i.e. for those terminally ill, those suffering unbearably, etc.
- That the current law has led to dangerous and unregulated practices, conversely, an assisted dying law will put safeguards where they are currently lacking.
- The consequences of the ban on assisted dying are avoidable suffering, disempowerment and traumatic deaths without dignity. You can refer the inquiry to FATE-funded doctoral research on this, specifically Part III.
- That the recent Scottish consultation response gives thousands of examples of suffering in the extremities, despite excellent palliative care, highlighting that assisted dying and palliative care are not mutually exclusive and co-exist effectively in other jurisdictions.
- That the only legal choices currently available to people are: travelling abroad to a permissive country (such as Dignitas in SWZ), refusing treatment, and refusing food and fluid – often a protracted and potentially painful death, these limited options are uncompassionate and out of step with peoples right to choice and dignity.
- That many lessons have been learned from countries who have legalised assisted dying – included what to do and what not do to. The UK should learn best practices from jurisdictions like Australia, New Zealand and the United States where assisted dying has been proven safe, compassionate and well-regulated.
This question is about identifying what matters to people when considering this debate. You can select up to three, including the points below:
- Personal autonomy
- Personal dignity
- Reducing suffering
- If you have another consideration you would like to add, you can select “Other” instead and expand on your answer in Question 4.
This question allows you to add more detail if you selected “Other” above.
This question asks what next steps would be helpful on the way to law change. We recommend you select any or all of the options given.
In “Other”, you can include any other detail that you think is useful, including data and personal testimony.