Rally planned as Parliament to debate compassionate assisted dying law

20 October, 2021

On 22 October, for the first time in years, the UK Parliament will debate legislation to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill. Humanists UK, which campaigns for a right to die for those with terminal or incurable illnesses, fully supports the Assisted Dying Bill as a landmark step towards much-needed reform. It will be taking part in a rally outside Parliament happening that morning.

Register to attend the protest at 9:00 at the George V Statute in Old Palace Yard. 

The Assisted Dying Bill has been put forward by Baroness Meacher and focuses on England and Wales. It will allow patients who are of sound mind and have fewer than six months to live to be assisted to end their lives. Under the proposed law, two independent doctors and a High Court judge would have to assess each request. They would decide whether to grant permission before assistance could be provided. The Bill will be debated from 10:00 onwards, with over 135 peers lined up to speak and the debate expected to last much of the rest of the day.

Outside the UK Parliament, demonstrators, including Humanists UK’s members and supporters, will gather to call for assisted dying reform as peers debate the proposed legislation. The demonstration will start from 9:00 at the George V Statue in Old Palace Yard. Protesters will hear from a range of high-profile speakers, including Baroness Molly Meacher, who put forward the Assisted Dying Bill; Humanists UK patron, right-to-die campaigner, and neurosurgeon Henry Marsh; the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey; and Andrew Copson, the Chief Executive of Humanists UK, who will be calling for much-needed assisted dying reform.

Humanists UK has been calling for assisted dying reform for decades. It supports it to enhance freedom of choice for those of sound mind who are terminally ill or incurably suffering who wish to have an assisted death. It has supported numerous high profile right-to-die legal cases including those of Paul Lamb, Omid T, Noel Conway, and Tony and Jane Nicklinson.

Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson commented:

‘We are proud to add our voices in support of the Assisted Dying Bill, which represents a landmark step towards the right-to-die. The law banning assisted dying in this country is a disgrace and is not fit for purpose.

‘The evidence from around the world is only becoming clearer as more and more countries introduce assisted dying laws. We know the right to die can be introduced in a safe manner and by doing so it affords choice to those with terminal or incurable illnesses to die in a time and manner of their choosing.’