The Health and Social Care Committee has launched an inquiry into assisted dying/assisted suicide.
The committee wants to hear the views of members of the general public and there is an online form which individuals are encouraged to use to respond.
It should take no longer than 10 minutes to respond, and all responses are anonymous.
The deadline to respond is Friday 20 January 2023.
The link to respond can be found at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/M66AML/
For more resources and articles about assisted suicide, see our End of Life Issues page.
How to respond
1. Suicide and attempted suicide are not crimes in England and Wales. However, it is a crime for a person to encourage or assist the suicide of another person. Euthanasia (healthcare professionals administering lethal drugs) is also illegal.
Which of the statements below best reflects your view?
- I broadly agree with the law on this issue in England and Wales
- I broadly disagree with the law on this issue in England and Wales
- I’m not sure
We suggest you select the first option “I broadly agree with the law on this issue in England and Wales.”
2. Please tell us why you have responded as you have set out above. (No more than 300 words)
In your own words, and in less than 300 words, you could make any of the following points:
- If you have any personal stories or reasons why you are opposed to a change in the law, then please do share them here.
- Any change to the existing laws will place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives as they may fear being a financial or care burden on others. This pressure will be all the more increased in this time of cost-of-living pressures with high inflation and many families facing economic pressures.
- Any change to the existing law will change the relationship between doctors and patients as doctors will not always be seeking to preserve life.
- The current law serves as a strong deterrent to exploitation and abuse, while there is discretion for prosecutors and judges for hard cases.
- Persistent requests for euthanasia or assisted dying are extremely rare where people are properly cared for. We should prioritise good palliative care rather than enabling assisted suicide.
- Hard cases make bad law. The law is an important safeguard and changing it will have significant implications well beyond the impact on hard cases.
- The experience of other countries where assisted suicide has been legalised is that it quickly becomes a slippery slope. The definition of ‘terminal illness’, for example, continually expands to cover illnesses that are not normally considered terminal, and with which patients can live for many years.
- The evidence is that in Canada people are seeking euthanasia because of credit card debt or poor housing or difficulty obtaining medical care. While they do have a medical condition, the underlying reason is actually from other forms of suffering.
- The experience of other countries that have legalised assisted dying is that ‘safeguards’ against abuse do not work. Instead, once a ‘right to die’ is established, the limits on who has this ‘right’ are persistently and incrementally extended with activists applying pressure to expand the categories of people who will qualify.
- The vast majority of UK doctors are opposed to legalising assisted suicide. This is especially the case with doctors involved in palliative care who therefore have the most to lose from a change in the law.
- All major disability groups in the UK are opposed to any change in the law because they believe it will lead to increased prejudice against them and pressure on them to end their lives.
- Public opinion polls on the issue are unreliable because people are easily manipulated by emotive hard cases. When respondents are given proper explanations of what it entails or shown reasons why people oppose assisted suicide, support drops dramatically.
- Human life is sacred and should be allowed to end naturally, not artificially ended.
3. Which of the following factors are most important to you when considering the issue? Please select up to three.
- Impact on healthcare professionals
- Personal autonomy
- Personal dignity
- Reducing suffering
- Risk of coercion of vulnerable groups
- Risk of devaluing lives of specific groups
- Sanctity of life
- Other (please give more details in the text box below)
You can select the issues most important to you. We would pick: Impact on healthcare professionals; Risk of coercion of vulnerable groups; Risk of devaluing lives of specific groups.
4. If you have responded ‘other’ to the previous question, please tell us which other factors are most important to you when considering the issue. [Word limit: 50 words]
You do not have to answer this question. If there is another factor that is important to you then use the box to explain why in 50 words or less.
5. Do you think any of the following would be helpful? Tick all that apply.
- Citizen’s assembly (a representative group of people who are selected at random from the population to learn about and make recommendations in relation to a particular issue)
- Further independent research
- Referendum (when a question is decided by putting it to a public vote)
- Other (please give more details in the text box below)
We do not think any of these would be helpful. A referendum is likely to be manipulated by emotional hard cases. We do not think the law should be changed, so no new resources are needed to consider a change.
6. If you responded ‘other’ to the previous question, please tell us what other resources would be helpful in the debate. [Word limit: 50 words]
You do not need to answer this question. If you have another idea of what would be useful for the government to consider then do explain what this is in 50 words or less.
 In Canada, for example, a veteran who asked for a ramp for her wheelchair was asked if she would like to apply for euthanasia. In another case in Canada, a soldier seeking help with PTSD was offered euthanasia.
 See https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/no-other-options
 For example, in the Netherlands people have undergone euthanasia due to being alcoholic, suffering from chronic depression due to sexual abuse, autism, and fear of going into a nursing home.
 See https://christianconcern.com/comment/doctors-with-most-relevant-experience-oppose-assisted-suicide-and-euthanasia/