An online petition has also been raised on the Change.org website. This states:
Lord Falconer’s bill aims to make it legal for doctors to end the lives of those they judge to be terminally ill, if the dying individual requests this intervention. This issue affects everyone, but our experience as disabled people informs our belief that the law should not be changed.
Not Dead Yet UK opposes this because:
- It would be unacceptably dangerous to make it legal for one individual to end the life of another, because statutory safeguards cannot be made effective;
- Clear evidence from other countries, where assisted dying has been introduced, shows that people are being assisted to die when they are not terminally ill. This is not the intention of the legislation, but there is evidence to show that it happens and when it does it is often to disabled people. In the light of this, Not Dead Yet UK takes the view that ‘Assisted Dying’ would be more accurately described as ‘Assisted Suicide’;
- People can be led to perceive themselves as a burden, especially when support services are cut, and this may contribute to their decision making;
- We believe that a positive approach to the lives of disabled people, old and young, should be a priority for society;
- This means appropriate support for living and an accessible environment;
- Disabled people are being hit harder than many by the recession, which gives us the clear message that our rights and opportunities are low priority when times get hard. ‘Assisted Dying’ is often linked with the cost of disability, particularly Social Care and Continuing Health Care, which are becoming increasingly unavailable. We find this a legitimate and relevant cause for concern;
- In a recent poll by the Royal College of GPs, 77 per cent voted against legalising assisted suicide and many doctors acknowledge that it is very difficult to accurately predict when someone will die and they often get this wrong.
(Thanks to Mo Stewart for this information.)