Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Disabled people worried over assisted suicide debate

The majority of disabled people are concerned that the legalisation of assisted suicide may be detrimental to the way they are viewed by society, a new survey for Scope has revealed. More than half (56%) of the 533 disabled people surveyed said they were concerned about the debate and the implications it could have in terms of perceptions of them and whether their life is worth living.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope claimed that the voices of ordinary people were being ignored in the debate in favour of high-profile celebrities. He said: “Our survey findings confirm that concerns about legalising assisted suicide are not just held by a minority, but by a substantial majority of those this law would affect. “Disabled people are already worried about people assuming their life isn’t worth living or seeing them as a burden, and are genuinely concerned that a change in the law could increase pressure on them to end their life. “These results should strike a note of caution for all sides, and show how vital a genuinely balanced and open debate on the issue is. “We have serious concerns about the so-called ‘Commission’ on Assisted Dying, which despite its name is nothing to do with the government. It feels like their findings are a foregone conclusion, with the debate loaded in favour of assisted suicide. The government needs to form its own independent non-biased commission to explore this.”

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