‘Better Off Dead?’: BBC puts spotlight on disabled opposition to assisted suicide

A BBC documentary has shone a light on disabled people’s attitudes to assisted suicide, showcasing widespread opposition.

In the BBC One documentary ‘Better Off Dead?’, disabled actress Liz Carr warned that legalising assisted suicide will put disabled people at risk because of the “dangerous assumption that some of us are better off dead”.

The Silent Witness star presented an alternative to the usual media narrative by showing that some disabled people are “really afraid” that removing end-of-life protections will result in “suicide prevention for some” and “suicidal approval for others”.


Carr, who is part of campaign group Not Dead Yet UK, was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease at seven years old and started using a wheelchair by age eleven.

During the documentary, the actress’s mother, Pat, reads a diary documenting her daughter’s suicidal thoughts as a twelve-year-old girl.

Pat recounted: “She gets very down and often says she wants to die, rather than carry on, as she can’t see any good in the future for herself.”

The actress responded, saying, “a frightening thing for me, would be, if that was possible”.


Speaking to palliative care expert Dr Katherine Sleeman, Liz Carr also heard about the dangers of vulnerable people being coerced into requesting assisted suicide.

Dr Sleeman said: “Patients will say to me, ‘Well I don’t want to go to a care home really, but I know my family want me to do it and I know it will be easier for them, so I think I’m going to say yes.’

“Now that example doesn’t intrinsically worry us, but substitute the words ‘go to a care home’ with ‘have an assisted death’, and I think it’s a completely different picture.”

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Liz Carr added: “Assisted suicide, we always hear that it’s about choice. But what happens when you feel that you have no choice but to use it, what about when it’s easy because it’s there, because it’s legalised?”


Last month, MPs from across the political spectrum spoke out against legalising assisted suicide during a debate in Parliament’s Westminster Hall.

In response to a petition calling for a vote on the issue, several MPs highlighted that in countries which have already changed the law, ‘safeguards’ have been eroded and overall suicides have increased, as has the number of people requesting to be killed for fear of being a burden.

Many MPs also spoke out against assisted suicide in a similar debate two years ago, while the most recent legislation in the House of Commons was defeated by 330 votes to 118.

Also see:


‘Why I shredded my Dignitas membership’

‘Canada is a nightmare of Britain’s future’

Plan 75 film shows ‘a disturbingly realistic glimpse’ of assisted suicide

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