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Wednesday 26th June 2019

Strong case for assisted suicide

5th January 2012

New calls have been made for allowing assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill in England and Wales.


A group of experts say there is a strong case for the move to allow assisted dying within a strict set of rules to ensure it was not abused.

The Commission on Assisted Dying, which was established and funded by campaigners who want to see a change in the law, described the current system as inadequate.

The commission, chaired by former justice secretary Lord Falconer and including a wide range of experts such doctors, an ex-police commissioner and a former president of the General Medical Council, received evidence from more than 1,300 sources during its year-long inquiry.

Author Sir Terry Pratchett, who has Alzheimer’s Disease and set up by Dignity in Dying, funded the review.

The group said assisted suicide should be allowed if certain conditions were met: that a person was over 18, terminally ill and judged as having less than 12 months to live, making a voluntary choice and not impaired mentally.

Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said she hoped the report would "form the foundation of future legislative change".

But Dr Peter Saunders, campaign director of Care Not Killing, said the investigation was unnecessary, biased and lacking in transparency.

The British Medical Association refused to give evidence to the commission.

A spokeswoman said: “While there is a spectrum of views on assisted dying within the medical profession, the BMA believes that the majority of doctors do not want to legalise assisted dying.”


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