'Assisted dying' & public opinion

By July 18, 2014 Recent News

CareNotKilling 18 July 2014
There is ample poll data showing that the majority of the British public support legalising assisted suicide (AS) in principle.
The former Voluntary Euthanasia Society (now rebranded Dignity in Dying) claims a figure of 80% although it has previously been argued that such levels of support are uncommitted, uninformed and unconvincing.
However, there has been very little poll data gauging public attitudes in light of the various empirical and rational arguments against AS. That is, until now.
An extraordinary new poll has demonstrated that public attitudes change dramatically once some of the key practical implications of AS are considered.
In a new Comres/CARE poll published today and reported by the Daily Telegraph respondents were presented with the following scenario:
‘A new Bill is due to be debated in the House of Lords which is designed to enable mentally competent adults in the UK who are terminally ill, and who have declared a clear and settled intention to end their own life, to be provided with assistance to commit suicide by self-administering lethal drugs. Two doctors would need to countersign their declaration and be satisfied that the person has a condition which cannot be reversed by treatment and is reasonably expected to die within 6 months. In principle would you agree or disagree with this proposal?’
73% agreed (38% strongly), 12% disagreed and 14% were in the ‘don’t know’ category.