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Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability

Noel Conway Dies

It was announced on Friday that Noel Conway has died. We send our sympathies to his family and friends at this sad and difficult time.

Mrs Conway said he had died at home on Wednesday after deciding with his family to remove his ventilator.

She said his carers “ensured that Noel had a painless and dignified death, demonstrating empathy and concern for us all”.

Mr Conway who had motor neurone disease campaigned to have the law on assisted suicide changed. He argued that he wanted to decide on the time and manner of his death and that being assisted to die would ensure this wish. His appeal was defeated in 2018.

Baroness Campbell said “We were sad to hear of the death of Mr, Conway but pleased to hear that he died peacefully with his loving family, supported by palliative care. NDYUK campaigns for proper health and social funding and support for people at the end of their  life.”

 

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Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Do Not Resuscitate Meacher Bil

A Message for DPOs

We are writing to seek your support in opposing the legalising of Assisted Suicide, which will soon be debated in both the UK and Scottish Parliaments. Although, over recent years, there have been several attempts to pass legislation to make Assisted Suicide legal in the UK, these have been overwhelmingly defeated. The UK Supreme Court also ruled against legalising assisted suicide.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of how disabled people are already denied life-saving support based on their impairments. How, then, can we even contemplate legalising Assisted Suicide at this point, when we are routinely denied the resources and support to assist us in living with dignity and respect?

How can you help? At the moment, we are simply asking that your organisation signs up to the statement below. Then please email us back confirming that your organisation is supportive of this. (info@notdeadyetuk.org)

“We add our support to the growing number of disabled people’s organisations, both nationally and internationally, who oppose Assisted Suicide.  At a time in the UK when disabled people are recovering from the effects of the pandemic and facing massive cuts to social care support services and benefits, we need support to live, not assistance to die.”

Finally, below are links to some articles about why many disabled people object to legalising Assisted Suicide and how Covid 19 has highlighted the fact that the lives of disabled people are increasingly deemed to be of less value within our society.

We’re told we are a burden. No wonder disabled people fear assisted suicide; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/01/disabled-people-assisted-dying-safeguards-pressure

6 out of 10 people who have died from COVID-19 are disabled; https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/news/6-out-of-10-people-who-have-died-from-covid-19-are-disabled

Disabled people like me fear legal assisted suicide: it suggests that some lives are less worth living; https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2019/02/06/disabled-people-like-me-fear-legal-assisted-suicide-it-suggests-that-some-lives-are-less-worth-living/

Doctors Issuing Unlawful ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders For Disabled Covid Patients ‘Outrageous’; https://www.forbes.com/sites/gusalexiou/2020/06/23/unlawful-do-not-resuscitate-orders-for-disabled-covid-patients-outrageous/?sh=66aea2f26cf1

 

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Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Meacher Bill

We need your help.

The Meacher Bill

We need to ensure that the Meacher Bill fails to attract the necessary support in Parliament. We need your help to contact and persuade Peers and MPs of the dangers this Bill poses to many disabled people.

Letter writing, social and broadcast media work and direct contact with MP’s and Peers are critical.

We have drafted a letter you could use as a template to contact your MP.  Please feel free to edit to suit your purposes.

MP Letter Template

BMA

The BMA is due to debate assisted suicide later this year. It is crucial that they stay neutral or, if possible, are persuaded to oppose a change in the law. We need you to engage with your GP’s and other medical practitioners to express your concerns.

This is why we need a strong campaign to defeat this latest attempt to legalise Assisted Suicide.

Peter Thomas, 47 from Birmingham says, “I’m fearful of others, including some medics, questioning why I haven’t opted for assisted suicide”.

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Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Meacher Bill

Now is Not the Time

Assisted suicide legislation is a threat to disabled people’s lives, independence and peace of mind.

We recognise that there is a range of views amongst disabled people as a whole on this issue, and we can see the argument for having a sensible, rational debate about assisted dying. But not now.

In every jurisdiction where a form of assisted suicide has been legalised, the numbers dying have increased over time. Once assisted suicide is law, society has endorsed it as an option, equal to that of life. Those who had never considered it will be told that it is an option. Their families, friends, health and social care professions will all know it as an option too.

It is hard enough already for those of us with terminal illnesses and disabilities to get the support services we need to live active, independent lives. The COVID pandemic has made that harder and bought into sharp focus the value society places on us. Many of us have lost health and social care support over the last year. And 6 out of 10 COVID related deaths have been disabled people.

For essential support to become merely the alternative option to assisted suicide terrifies us. That is why no organisation of terminally ill or disabled people has sought a change in the law.

We need help to live – not to die. That means investment in palliative care, pragmatic solutions to social care provision and continued financial support for our world-class NHS.

These are the issues our parliamentarians should be concentrating on, rather than the Pandora’s Box of assisted suicide which might help the few, but at the expense of the many.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/26/government-should-helping-people-live-not-die-assisted-suicide/

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assisted suicide Disability

The only proper safeguard is no law change.

Not Dead Yet UK is determined to resist a change in the law on assisted suicide. We believe that it is not possible to provide adequate safeguards to protect the lives of disabled people. We are also deeply concerned that an alteration in the law would inevitably lead to further changes that would put even more disabled people at risk, the “slippery slope” effect.

By way of example, look at what has happened in the Netherlands. Euthanasia in the Netherlands was legalised in 2001 for mentally competent adults 16+ with unbearable physical pain and no prospect of cure also children aged 12 to 16 with parental consent.

In 2006 the Groeningen protocol enabled euthanasia for infants under one year old with parental consent.

In 2008 unbearable physical pain limitation extended to psychiatric pain.

In 2016 euthanasia for mentally incompetent patients began for dementia patients with an advanced directive.

2016 saw a public debate began about people who lived a complete life and in 2017 a draft law was published for euthanasia on request for people aged 75 and older.

In 2020 a draft law was placed before the Dutch Parliament, which proposed that euthanasia should be available for anyone 55yrs or older. This is also being considered for children under 12yrs who are physically suffering.

In Oregon, USA it has been legal for terminally ill, mentally competent adults to have an “assisted death” since 1997. Dignity in Dying (DiD) formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society asserts that “there have been no cases of abuse and the law has not been extended beyond terminally ill adults.

These personal stories beg to differ.

Barbara Wagner Oregon, USA

The 64-year-old woman with lung cancer had been in remission, learned the disease had returned and would likely kill her. Her last hope was a $4,000-a-month drug that her doctor prescribed for her, but the insurance company refused to pay. What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50.

“if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor, and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won’t give you the medication to live.”

Jeanette Hall Oregon, USA

Diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and told she had six months to a year to live. She knew about the assisted suicide law, and asked her doctor about it, because she didn’t want to suffer. Her doctor encouraged her not to give up, and she decided to fight the disease. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation and 20 years later Jeanette Hall is still alive. “I am so happy to be alive! If my doctor had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead. Assisted suicide should not be legal”

Kathryn Judson Oregon, USA

She wrote of bringing her seriously ill husband to the doctor in the hope of getting the much-needed help and care he deserves but in a harrowing form of events overheard the Doctor giving her husband a sales pitch for assisted suicide and how much of a burden he must be on his wife.
“I was afraid to leave my husband alone again with doctors and nurses”

Roger Foley Ontario, Canada

Has cerebellar ataxia, a fatal neurological disorder that limits his ability to move his arms and legs. He launched a landmark lawsuit alleging that health officials would not provide him with an assisted home care team of his choosing but instead offered him an assisted death.
“Persons with disabilities have to initiate very lengthy and onerous legal procedures to get their rights recognised,”

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Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability

GP’s are being surveyed on Assisted Dying – Time to Act.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is in the process of consulting its 53,000 members as to what its stance should be on whether there should be a change in the law on assisted dying.

The College last consulted its members on the issue in 2013. The result, announced in February 2014, was that the College should not change its stance, and as such, its current position is that it is opposed to any change in the law on assisted dying.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, said: “Assisted dying is an incredibly emotive issue that polarises opinions. “It has been nearly six years since we asked our members as to whether we should support a change in the law on assisted dying – since then, it is possible that views within our membership have shifted. “As such, RCGP Council has decided that the time is right to conduct this consultation, and we will be issuing further details of how we will do this in due course.”

GP’s have until 13th December to submit their answer.

We are aware that just about everyone has a view on this and just about everyone has been asked what their opinion is. Everyone but us, the people who could be most affected.

Baroness Jane Campbell states, “Most disabled people oppose assisted suicide. We do not want it. We campaign against it. We are frightened by attempts to change the law, thereby weakening or removing the protection that we currently depend upon. Protection that is provided to everyone by Section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961. We do not wish to be treated differently because we are terminally ill or disabled. Those seeking to change the law do not do so in our name. In fact, we are so fearful of a change in the law that we established Not Dead Yet UK to oppose all attempts to legalise assisted suicide. We find efforts to propagate the euphemism “assisted dying” sinister and alarming.”

There is still time for you to influence your GP’s decision.

If you are visiting your surgery or in touch via other means ask your GP how they intend to vote on this crucial issue.

Please make sure that you tell your GP that you are against a change in the law.

 

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Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability

Vince Cable causes real concern

Responding to the news that the Royal College of Physicians has adopted a neutral stance on assisted dying, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said “As someone who has recently been persuaded of the merits of allowing properly regulated assisted dying with safeguards, it is reassuring that many medical professionals are also making the same journey.

“Opinion is changing and it is now overdue that legislation should come forward to address this important social issue.”

We believe that Mr Cable’s faith in so-called “safeguards” is misplaced. Furthermore, all previous debates in parliament have rejected changing the law in part because safeguards were not safe.

We are calling any LibDem members of NDYUK or if you have some leverage or connection, to please contact the LibDem party and Vince Cable MP and explain to them why this is not a good idea.

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Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Entertainment

Assisted Suicide – The Musical

Disabled activist, actor and comedian Liz Carr has chosen the spectacular world of musical theatre as the backdrop to exploring the complex and controversial subject of assisted suicide in her new show Assisted Suicide: The Musical.

On September 11th 2015, MPs voted overwhelmingly against legalising assisted suicide. Opinion polls would have you believe that the majority of the UK population believe it’s a humane choice to legalise assisted suicide for terminally ill or disabled people but Liz and many other disabled people disagree.

Confronting the lack of creative work exploring this most topical taboo, she is joined by director Mark Whitelaw (Duckie, Ursula Martinez, New Art Club), composer Ian Hill (Duckie) and a cast of performers to express an important but often unheard perspective.

Here are further details of dates, times and venues

Assisted Suicide: The Musical Written by Liz Carr Director Mark Whitelaw, Composer Ian Hill,

July Previews

Ahead of the premiere at Unlimited Festival at the Royal Festival Hall on September 10th and 11th, (http://unlimited.southbankcentre.co.uk/events/assisted-suicide-the-musical) we warmly invite you to the preview of Assisted Suicide: The Musical by Liz Carr.

 

Chats Palace, London, Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July , 7.45pm. £12/8 (concession)

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/assisted-suicide-the-musical-preview-tickets-26581199082

Colchester Arts Centre,  Wednesday 27 July, 8pm. Pay What You Can Afford.

http://www.colchesterartscentre.com/events/performance/assisted-suicide-the-musical/?spektrix_bounce=true

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Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Disability portrayal

The debate continues

So after the initial brew ha that followed the premiere of  the film Me Before You the battle to protect the rights of vulnerable disabled people goes on. Those who campaigned so vocally at the premiere deserve our thanks and it seems their efforts attracted  a great deal of mainstream and social media attention. Catherine Garrod, a NDYUK supporter, posted  a Twitter update showing that our protest attracted 2,300 retweets, 1,900 likes, 236 replies 404,200 impressions, 11,800 visits to our profile page (up by over 1000%!) 837 mentions in the past 2 weeks. Our top tweet received 178 retweets and 20,000 impressions.  So the word is getting out there!

Alison Wilde a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, whose research is centred around on screen representations of impairment and disability, with a focus often placed on gender and audience interpretations has posted an interesting and informative piece about the film.  Alison Wild Blog

Alongside all of this the recent decision to allow assisted suicide in California reminds us all that the fight must continue. Kathleen Palmer, an opinion writer for the Washington Post, in her piece “Freedom to kill, permission to die” writes “Perhaps I read too many dystopian science-fiction novels during my formative years, but there’s something disturbing about asking doctors to help their patients die.” you can read the complete article at Freedom to Kill Permission to die

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Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Disability portrayal

“Me Before You” Film panned by Not Dead Yet UK

The latest blockbuster to come out of Hollywood called ‘Me Before You’ is seen as a gross misrepresentation of the lived experience of most disabled people. The film is based on the best-selling novel of the same name.  A young man becomes disabled, he falls in love with his ‘carer’ and they have a fantastic year together but despite her protests, he decides to end his life at Dignitas so she can move on and he is no longer a burden to her.

A critique of the book by Crippled Scholar can be found at http://bit.ly/25bbRf6

Not Dead Yet UK is deeply concerned to see yet another film which casts non-disabled people as disabled people and shows the lives of disabled people as not worth living.

The film premiered at the Curzon in Mayfair at 7pm on the 25th May.

Further coverage of the protest and concerns around the film:

This film did not raise the issue of medication intake and cost of medication.