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Assisted Dying - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:18 pm on 6th March 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Meacher Baroness Meacher Crossbench 8:18 pm, 6th March 2017

My Lords, forgive me for speaking in the gap. Following the Canadian and other North American decisions, Dignity in Dying, an organisation of which I am chair, is proud to support Noel Conway, one of our members, who has launched a judicial review. Noel is seeking a declaration from the courts that the blanket ban on assisted dying under the Suicide Act 1961 is contrary to his human rights. Noel has said:

“Having the option of an assisted death would bring me great comfort in my final months. Without this option I could effectively become entombed in my own body”.

What a prospect.

In addition to the human rights argument referred to by many noble Lords, the right to assisted dying for terminally ill patients who are suffering unbearably and are mentally competent is a matter of compassion and also a matter of recognising the right of patients to decide for themselves how and when they die. Noel Conway needs our support.