In the UK, euthanasia and assisted death is illegal. However, recent landmark cases
have highlighted the issues surrounding assisted death and may be shifting public
opinion in the direction of greater freedom. Yet it is one of the most challenging and
complex debates of our time, with varied viewpoints presenting society with difficult
questions, for which there are no easy answers.
Over the past year, I’ve been on a journey, and at its beginning, I had no idea where
it was going to take me. I’ve met people making difficult decisions about their own
deaths, and those who have supported their loved ones in choosing to die, which is
deeply moving and at times has been difficult to hear. I’ve also travelled to Switzerland
with two people for whom assisted dying felt to be their only option.
In a world of idealised autonomy, legislation providing for assisted dying in the UK
might, if ethically acceptable, not be risky. But we do not live in that world and there
are wider implications to this most complex of issues.
The arguments, both for and against a change in the law are nothing if not
complicated, but one thing is for sure, these legal challenges are not going to go
away, and more people are taking advantage of Switzerland’s rather coarsely coined
‘suicide tourism.’ Whatever you conclude, however, these most recent legal challenges
come nearly 20 years after the issue was first voted on in the House of Commons.
Participants include:- Colin Campbell, Alex Pandolfo, Omid T, Marie Lopez Ramos, Phil
Cheatle, Dr Michael Irwin, Penny Hall, Saimo Chahal QC, Dr Erika Preisig, Lauren
Nicklinson, Professor Richard Huxtable, Revd Canon Rosie Harper, Revd Graham Sykes
and the Rt Revd Dr Lee Rayfield.
I am most grateful to Colin, Alex, Omid and Marie for allowing me to follow them on
their individual journeys, and to all those who have participated, assisted and
supported me to date, I cannot thank you enough.
Andi Reiss (writer, producer, director)