A UK Government petition to hold a parliamentary vote on assisted dying has passed 100,000 signatures in less than a month, and will be considered for Westminster Hall debate in Parliament. Humanists UK has welcomed the news, thanked members and supporters who have already signed and encouraged others to add their signatures.
This is the latest news amid a surge of support for assisted dying. Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, restated his longstanding support for assisted dying, and said as Prime Minister he would be open to making parliamentary time for a free vote. Last year, several senior politicians, including Conservatives Michael Gove, Alicia Kearns, Mel Stride, and Tobias Ellwood, have said that the time has come for another vote.
High-profile figures such as Dame Esther Rantzen, Dame Diana Rigg, Sue Johnston, Dame Prue Leith, and Dame Joan Ruddock have brought media attention to the issue in recent months as well, all of them urging MPs and peers to recognise the need for a compassionate assisted dying law.
Nathan Stilwell, Assisted Dying Campaigner for Humanists UK, said:
‘This is yet another indication of the overwhelming appetite for our outdated law on assisted dying to be changed. There is no issue in public life that the public backs more strongly than assisted dying. The campaign has higher public approval ratings than the monarchy or English football.’
‘I urge everyone to continue to sign this petition today and add to the growing momentum of support. It’s cruel that the current law forces certain individuals to suffer when countries like Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands have had compassionate assisted dying laws with effective strong safeguards for decades.’
Humanists UK campaigns for a humane law with robust safeguards so that terminally ill and incurably suffering people can freely choose when and how they die, if and when they should decide their suffering is too great to bear, and once palliative care options have been tried and exhausted.
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.
For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Assisted Dying Campaigner Nathan Stilwell at email@example.com or phone 07456 200033.
If you have been affected by the current assisted dying legislation, and want to use your story to support a change in the law, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 120,000 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.