Europe, UK, Human Rights, Politics

The Assisted Dying Bill in the UK

The debate was brought around in the commons by MP Rob Marris as he feels that terminally ill patients don’t have a choice over their lives and he wants to stop the Swiss clinic Dignitas continuing to carry out the amount of “amateur suicides”. In 2012, 29 Britons left the UK to die in Switzerland.

The final outcome in the open vote was a definite no, with 330 against 118 votes; 74% saying no. It was the first time the issue had been debated in the Commons since 1997 in which the same result was brought with 72% saying no.

The legislation that was trying to be passed would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives. To meet the specific criteria they would need to be an adult with less than six months to live, be mentally competent to make the decision and have heard all the alternatives. Before anything further could go ahead two independent doctors would have to confirm that the patient had made an informed choice, and each case would need to be heard in front of a high court judge. A doctor could then prescribe them a deathly dose of drugs, which they would have to take themselves without anyone assisting.

Protesters on both sides were outside Parliament trying to change the MP’s minds before they went in to vote. The groups in favour of assisted dying happening in the UK, such as Dying in Dignity, felt that it would allow people who are in constant pain or have lost ability to be independent due to illness to choose to end their lives and find the peace that they are desperate for. They also believe that it would be safer and more regulated than them having to travel to Switzerland. Opponents of the bill, like care Not Killing, argued that allowing it in the UK would make disabled and terminally ill people pressured into thinking that it was the only way out and that people think it was an easy way out instead of finding alternatives to deal and make their situation better.

Other high profile organisations and individuals also voiced their concerns/support. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said the bill would see suicide become “actively supported” instead of being a tragedy, but his predecessor agreed with assisted dying, saying that there is nothing less dignified than being in pain. The Doctor’s union, The British Medical Association, disagrees with all forms of assisted dying. The Royal College of Nursing takes a neutral stance.

Alas, the only way terminally ill or disabled people can die is to fly out to Switzerland to Dignitas and other independent clinics. The problem with Dignitas and similar opposed to the system that was proposed to the decision planned to go ahead in the UK is, the UK’s controls were going to be much more stringent, although Dignitas state they only ‘pick’ their patients who meet specific criteria. The UK system was going to have more control. Some people also feel it’s necessary to have to have to end their lives sooner than they would of, the UK system due to them having to be well enough to travel.

The UK system would have been able to clarify that anyone wanting to end their lives had lost enough of their quality of life before agreeing.

With the support of both sides being high, this topic will always be controversial subject that will continue to be a the forefront of Parliament.

About Peter Mossack

Peter is the CEO of Kinstream Media, and he manages the editorial board and day-to-day operations as the publisher of CrowdH. He’s a tech and news junkie, and an avid social media analyst who’s always on the lookout for new stories to cover. He has been an entrepreneur for the past 20 years and he’s now dedicated to change the news, and the world!

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