Campaign For Legalization Of Assisted Suicide In The United Kingdom

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Evidence submitted to the Joint Committee on Human Rights by Dying in Dignity

Dignity in Dying is a politically unbiased organisation that is campaigning for legalisation of assisted suicide in the United Kingdom. The law recognises several different kinds of help provided to patients that have made a decision to preliminary end their life, which none of these are currently legal in the United Kingdom despite many previous attempts to introduce a bill to legalise them. Legalisation of assisted suicide would allow chronically ill or disabled patients to ask a person for an assistance with ending of their life in dignity without the assistant being charged with either murder or manslaughter. Both physician and non-physician assisted suicide are currently permitted only in Switzerland which could provide an example for a successful law in the UK.
The current law is against human rights as every person has the right to decide whether to continue their life in pain or not, unfortunately, some patients are unable to do so or do not have the means to end their life, therefore, the law should allow them to seek help from medical institutions or individuals that agree to assist them without being punished by imprisonment. Recent article from Katharine Whitehorn on implies that we treat ill animals better than humans and that it is non-acceptable and cruel to keep a suffering animal alive, thus, the questions is why do we let people suffer and do not give them the option to die in dignity when they choose to die?
It is not in favour of pharmaceutical companies to end the life of a suffering patient early as it means loss of long-term revenue from medication and medical aids provided to chronically ill or disabled patients. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies have the power to lobby the government officials into voting against the proposed bills on legalisation of assisted suicide. On the contrary, assisted suicide favours the insurance companies as they would not have to spend funds on patients that do no wish to live under their medical conditions which would provide sufficient funds to invest into patients that are likely to recover from their illnesses. A report “When Death Is Sought” issued by The New York State Department of Health in April 2011 suggests that prolonging of untreatable diseases is far more expensive than providing a patient with a lethal injection, therefore, it could lift the expenses connected with insufficient treatment that are only suppressing symptoms but not actually treating the illness.
Many surveys have been conducted over the past few decades to find out the opinion of the public, doctors or any other parties involved in the discussion. For instance, the British Social Attitudes Survey conducted in 2010 shows that 82 % of general public think that a doctor should be allowed to end a patient's life on their request if the patient suffers from a painful condition. More recent poll from 2012 conducted on behalf of the Swiss Medical Lawyers Association in 12 European countries shows that more than 70 % of Brits would opt to an assisted suicide if needed, therefore, they support the legalisation of assisted suicide. Moreover, the general belief that religious individuals are not in favour of assisted suicide is questioned by the the result of a 2013 YouGov survey commissioned for the Westminster Faith Debate 2013 which shows that 78 % religious individuals are in favour of legalisation of assisted suicide.
To conclude the proposed argument, there is a need to change the current law in the United Kingdom by legalising assisted suicide. In the past, there were several attempts to introduce a bill that would legalise it, however, always dismissed. Changes have been made by politicians to perfect the proposed bill and the announcement of a free vote in later 2014 has just been made by the UK government. The government should reflect the public