Assisted dying campaigner
Jane Nicklinson, wife of the late Tony Nicklinson, became a patron of Humanists UK in 2017 in recognition of her brave and tireless campaigning for the right to die of those who are terminally ill and incurably suffering.
Humanists UK first worked alongside Jane and Tony in Tony’s landmark right-to-die case in 2012-15. Tony, whose entire body was left paralysed (locked-in syndrome) after suffering a stroke, appealed to the High Court in 2012 for an assisted death on his own terms. Not long after his case was dismissed, Tony died of complications from pneumonia. However, Jane continued with the legal fight for a change in the assisted dying laws, taking the case to the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, and eventually the European Court of Human Rights.
Jane’s case was dismissed by the ECHR in 2015, however the judgment leaves open the possibility of a future UK court decision which might legalise assisted dying.
Jane has been and continues to be a stalwart crusader for a more humane legal approach across the UK to assisted dying which would allow individuals suffering from terminal or incurable illnesses a choice over the manner, timing, and the conditions in which they die. Jane’s dedication for greater dignity and autonomy for people who suffer from debilitating conditions and demonstrations of unwavering humanity, compassion, and clarity continue to inspire public opinion and fellow campaigners on this issue.