Changing the law on assisted dying using real-life stories

21 November, 2023

Humanists UK is making a fresh appeal for real-life stories to help support its campaign for a compassionate assisted dying law

Humanists UK is calling on members of the public who have had an experience which has led them to believe that assisted dying should be made legal. Every day, people watch their loved-ones experience unnecessary and unbearable suffering. Watching a loved one have a difficult death makes families feel incredibly helpless, but by sharing these stories we can make the case loud and clear that assisted dying should be made legal.

If this sounds like you, Humanists UK wants to hear from you. If you have a story to tell, please email

Please do not get in touch if you have committed a crime or planning on committing a crime, as we may be duty-bound to report it. We are unable to give legal advice, or assist anyone to have an assisted death (including by going abroad).

Who can contact Humanists UK 

If you are someone who is affected by these issues and supports the assisted dying campaign, Humanists UK wants to hear from you.

You may be a loved one of someone who is or was unwell and seeking an assisted death, or know someone who experienced a painful, undignified death which was not on their terms. 

Or you may be living with a terminal or incurable disease yourself, and want to talk about why you feel passionately about your support for a change to our laws on assisted dying. 

You might be a doctor, nurse, or palliative care specialist who, through your work, feels strongly about making assisted dying legal in the UK.

If your experiences at work have led you to feel that a change in these laws would go a long way in improving the lives of individuals and families, helping to replace difficult deaths with peace and dignity, then Humanists UK also wants to hear from you.

More than facts and figures: the power of real-life stories

Real-life stories are enormously powerful in the campaign. They illuminate how real people are impacted by real issues that may otherwise be misrepresented or only partially understood.

By amplifying the voices of people who are affected by terminal illnesses and incurable diseases, Humanists UK can give politicians insight into why our laws on assisted dying urgently need reform.

Humanists UK knows that assisted dying already has huge support from the public. Recent surveys show around 90% of people in the UK think there should be a humane and legal assisted dying system in this country. 

Any vote on assisted dying in the UK would be a conscience vote, meaning each individual MP would be able to vote as they wish – this makes it even more important that each politician in this country hears from real-world voices why the law should change.

How Humanists UK uses and protect case studies

The wellbeing, privacy, and protection of anyone who talks to us is paramount at Humanists UK. Any person who chooses to contact us to share their story will be communicated with directly by trained professional staff, and your story will only ever be shared with your direct permission. 

Where Humanists UK has your explicit permission, your story could be used in national and local media, on the Humanists UK website and on our social media channels to educate others about how the current ban on assisted dying affects people, their friends, and their families. 

If you have a story to tell, please email

If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI) or contact other sources of support, such as those listed on the NHS Help for suicidal thoughts webpages. Support is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, and whatever life has done to them.

PLEASE NOTE: Assisted or encouraging a suicide is illegal in the UK, punishable by up to 12 years in prison. Please do not get in touch if you have committed a crime (such as accompanying someone abroad for an assisted death) and you have not yet reported the crime to the police or Crown Prosecution Service. Humanists UK may be duty-bound to report crimes.


Read more about our work on assisted dying.

Humanists UK gave a written submission to the Health and Social Care Inquiry in January this year where we laid out our policy in full.

Humanists UK have long supported attempts to legalise assisted dying and have intervened in support of our members Noel Conway, Omid T, and Paul Lamb and Tony and Jane Nicklinson, throughout their attempts to overhaul the law on assisted dying by taking human rights cases through the courts. In 2019 we helped establish the Assisted Dying Coalition, the national coalition working for assisted dying.

Humanists UK are regularly commissioning studies and reports to highlight the urgency of this campaign. In 2019, our research revealed the pressing need for reform, revealing that more than one person a week now travels to Switzerland to end their life.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 110,000 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.