Slovenians back assisted dying in referendum

10 June, 2024

A referendum in Slovenia has voted in favour of assisted dying, making it increasingly likely that the nation will enshrine the right to die in law in the coming years. 

Meanwhile, in France, President Macron’s decision to call a snap election means that the assisted dying bill there will no longer move forward, with end-of-life choice in France now lying in the balance. 

Humanists UK hopes the wave of attention on assisted dying in Europe will help put pressure on politicians across the UK and Crown dependencies to take action.

Assisted dying referendum in Slovenia

In Slovenia, a referendum on the question ‘Are you in favour of adopting a law that will regulate the right to assistance in the voluntary end of life?’ passed with 55% in favour and 45% against. The vote is non-binding, but has broad support from three major political parties who proposed the referendum.

Assisted dying bill in France

In France, President Macron has unexpectedly ordered a snap election. This means that the current assisted dying bill, which had been successfully making its way through the French Parliament, has been scrapped. One of the first assisted dying votes on the assisted dying bill passed 88 to 50 only last week. The Bill had been drafted after a citizens; assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalisation. There is no guarantee that the Bill will continue under future parliaments.

British context

The news from Europe comes during a massive wave of campaigning across the UK, crown dependencies, and around the world, on assisted dying. In addition to the Assisted Dying Bill in Scotland published last month, assisted dying proposals in Jersey passed by a massive majority, and a report in the Republic of Ireland recommended a change in the law. Clauses of the assisted dying bill are currently being debated on the Isle of Man.

In February, the UK Health and Social Care Committee released a report on assisted dying. It stated that end-of-life care can and has improved in jurisdictions that have legalised it.

The leaders of the Labour and Conservative parties have indicated they would allow a free vote on assisted dying in Parliament. The Green Party and Liberal Democrat parties have a policy supporting assisted dying and have equally pledged support for a free vote.

Nathan Stilwell, Assisted Dying Campaigner for Humanists UK, said:

‘It’s a day of mixed emotions with Slovenia making enormous progress on assisted dying while France takes a huge step backwards. But all of this is part of a bigger picture of people around the world demanding more rights over their bodies and ultimately their death. Adults who are suffering and have no hope of a cure to their condition deserve the right to choose a dignified death.’

Humanists UK’s policy is that any adult of sound mind who is intolerably suffering from an incurable, physical condition and has a clear and settled wish to die should have the option of an assisted death. This includes adults with conditions like multiple sclerosis and locked-in syndrome, which are not terminal but can cause unbearable suffering without any possible relief. People with these conditions should not be omitted from assisted dying legislation.


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Assisted Dying Campaigner Nathan Stilwell at 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

Media can use the following press images and videos, as long as they are attributed to ‘Humanists UK’.

Read six reasons we need an assisted dying law.

Read more about our analysis of the assisted dying inquiry.

Read more about our campaign to legalise assisted dying in the UK.

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