The House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee has launched an inquiry into assisted dying in England and Wales. This will be the first such inquiry held by the UK Parliament since 2005. Humanists UK has been calling for this inquiry for the last few years, including having organised a joint letter from 56 MPs and peers on it. Today it welcomed the news and hopes the Committee will now listen to families and look closely at the international evidence.
The announcement is the latest in a string of moves over the last month on assisted dying by local jurisdictions. In France, a ‘citizen’s convention’ will be launched on 9 December and a law is expected to be introduced with President Macron’s backing in March. In the Republic of Ireland, a special Oireachtas committee will launch this month to examine assisted dying. In Scotland, the Assisted Dying Bill will enter the first stage early in the new year, after 36 MSPs backed the move. The Isle of Man launched a consultation on its proposed Assisted Dying Bill on Thursday. In Jersey, a consultation is currently in progress to examine eligibility criteria, safeguards, and processes after the States Assembly agreed to support assisted dying ‘in principle’.
Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:
‘We welcome Parliament launching this inquiry. People who are terminally ill or incurably suffering desperately need detailed scrutiny of the law. We hope it will look at the evidence from the many countries around the world that now have assisted dying like Spain, Belgium, and Canada, and listens to people who want an assisted death and their loved ones.
‘We support assisted dying because the evidence is clear: it is possible to allow it for those who are of sound mind and have a clear and settled wish to die, while also having sufficiently robust safeguards to stop anyone from being coerced into ending their lives. We look forward to working with the Committee.’
For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at email@example.com or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.
Read more about our campaign to legalise assisted dying in the UK.
Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.