Campaigners for weaker end-of-life laws in the UK appear to be “revelling” in a milestone for a notorious Swiss assisted suicide facility, a pro-life group has warned.
In 2002 a man became the first Briton to die at the Dignitas facility and in the decade since more than 200 Britons have also gone to the Swiss group.
The statistics come as a leading figure at Dignitas said it is a problem that “perfectly healthy” people cannot be assisted in a suicide.
According to one pro-assisted-suicide group, 217 Britons have gone to Dignitas to commit suicide in the past decade.
However, Care Not Killing, which supports the current law, warned: “This is a deeply depressing milestone, that Dignitas and those campaigning for a change in the law appear to be revelling in.”
In light of an upcoming end-of-life summit in Edinburgh, Care Not Killing commented: “There are very few people travelling from Scotland to Dignitas and these deaths make up a tiny proportion of those who die in Scotland and more widely in the UK.
“As Dignitas has admitted, around one fifth of those who have ended their life in their facility, are simply ‘weary of life’.”
Care Not Killing added that the current law “exists to protect the vulnerable and disabled, who do not have a voice of their own”, and has the backing of “every major disability rights group and every doctors group, including the BMA and all the royal colleges”.
In his comments Silvan Luley, who is reportedly the unofficial deputy director of Dignitas, said he was concerned that Swiss law did not allow people who are “perfectly healthy” to have an assisted suicide.
Speaking at a meeting of two pro-assisted-suicide groups he said “If that person thinks that his or her life does not have sufficient quality any more, then who am I to judge?”
He added: “I can try to talk people out of it. I can try to show people alternatives, but if somebody does not enjoy the sunlight, the smell of freshly cut grass in the morning any more, then what do you do then?”