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03 Nov 2021

End-of-life care and assisted dying

Baroness Meacher has introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Lords to legalise assisted dying in England and Wales for people who are terminally ill, mentally competent and who have less than six months to live.

Marjorie Wallace, SANE’s Chief Executive, has given her views on this proposed legislation in a letter to The Times, and a comment piece in the Daily Mirror. She has argued that there is a distinction that needs to be drawn between assisted dying and suicide, and that conflating the two issues risks doing  a disservice both to suicide prevention and to end-of-life care.

You can read her contribution here:

Daily Mirror: ‘Assisted dying isn’t suicide – conflating the two does disservice to those in need’ – Marjorie Wallace

The Times: Letters to the Editor (Paywell, see below)

The Times Letter: End-of-life care

Sir, One important aspect that has not been sufficiently highlighted, and which troubles many people, is the difference between assisted dying and suicide. It does a disservice to both suicide prevention and to end-of-life care to conflate shortening life with shortening death. We understand all too well that mental pain can drive a person to seek a way out of their desperation, but we know that many who attempt to take their own lives are grateful to have a second chance.

While there are treatments that can ameliorate mental illness, for those whose condition is incurable and death inevitable, assisted dying may offer a compassionate choice.

Marjorie Wallace
Chief Executive, SANE

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