We Need to Talk About Assisted Dying

Assisted dying is an emotive subject, on which even humanists are not of one mind. 


Some years ago, I spent a lot of time campaigning in support of the late Margo Macdonald’s Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill, which was rejected not once by the Scottish Parliament, but twice. In 2014, the BBC reported public support for assisted dying at 69%: in April of this year, a new survey from Dignity in Dying puts it at 84%.

Whatever your views, I hope you take the time to read this interview with Hospice CEO Mark Jarman-Howe in The Guardian and the correspondence the article provoked in today’s paper

I particularly liked this letter from Paul Woodward which refers to Oregon. One of the key arguments in support of Margo’s Bill was the detailed data that had been collected there since assisted dying became legal.

The fact that resonated most strongly with me was that while deaths under the state’s Death with Dignity Act represented less than one half of one per cent of the population, only one in three of those people who asked for end of life medication chose not to use it: as Paul Woodward says in his letter, while few people take the option, many are comforted to know it exists.

it’s 25 years since the act came into law in Oregon and Death with Dignity have made a film to recognise the courage of those who first campaigned for it. One day, I hope, we in the UK will have the same freedom to choose how we die. Until then, the struggle will contin

Voices of a Movement from Death with Dignity National Ctr on Vimeo.

  1. Tim Maguire's Humanist CV - Tim Maguire left a comment on June 3, 2023 at 11:06 am

    […] the Day’. I also campaigned for two (unsuccessful) bills at the Scottish Parliament in support of Assisted Dying […]

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