Latest news on the right-to-die legislation

24 April 2015

Over the last year or so, the campaign around right-to-die issues has gained some traction. The general public is becoming increasingly more aware of it and what it stands for.

Funeral plans

Here, we look at its latest state of play. 

The law change, if passed, will allow those who are terminally ill and mentally competent to request life-ending medication from a doctor and to have the choice of self-administering the medicine when it is right for them.

The call for the change in law allows those who are suffering to find a peaceful way to die, without the worry of the law or implicating any family members who may have been involved in their choice to die.

A quote from the movement says “A change in the law on assisted dying would not lead to more deaths, rather it would lead to less suffering for those dying people who want the choice to control how and when they die.”

Lord Falconer, the Labour cabinet minister introduced the assisted dying bill to the House of Lords and it was debated in July last year. Questions and concerns were raised about the bill and the need for certainty in the law. Some were concerned that the bill would open the door to a world where euthanasia is accessible to many, and people will be ending their lives on a mass scale.

In November, the bill was debated by the House of Lords, clause by clause. The decision was to create a law change where a model was set out which would allow judicial oversight of assisted dying. It received unanimous support for the amendment, and as of January this year, the bill progressed further than ever before. A majority of peers defeated amendments that would have impacted negatively upon the bill.

Currently, though there has been a huge effort to get the bill passed into law, it will not be debated before dissolution and will not become law during this parliament. The general election in May 2015 will see further campaigning surrounding the bill, though many of the same challenges will be faced.

Progress has been made and though there are still many questions and decisions to be made surrounding the 'right-to-die' campaign, there are many signs that it may become law in the not too distant future.