Disabled people fear change in the assisted suicide law

Changing the law to legalise assisted suicide would result in disabled people feeling pressured to kill themselves, according to a new survey by a leading disability charity.

Scope’s survey revealed that 70 per cent of those with a disability felt that such a change would create pressure for disabled people to “end their lives prematurely”.

And more than a third expressed concern that they would personally experience such pressure.


The survey also revealed that 56 per cent of respondents believed any relaxation of the law would be “detrimental to the way that disabled people are viewed by society as a whole.”

Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of Scope, 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.”

Mr Hawkes also warned against letting high profile assisted suicide campaigners drown out the voices of ordinary disabled people.

The Scope survey, which was carried out by ComRes, was based on interviews with 533 disabled people.


Last month the BBC was accused of being a cheerleader for assisted suicide after deciding to show footage of a man with motor neurone disease killing himself at a facility in Switzerland.

Due to be aired this summer on BBC2, it will be the first time an assisted suicide has been shown on British terrestrial television.

But Dr Peter Saunders, director of the Care Not Killing group, said: “The BBC is acting like a cheerleader for legalising assisted suicide.”

Related Resources