MDMD’s campaign is driven by compassion for mentally competent adults who are terminally ill and/or incurably suffering from incurable physical conditions and who want the certainty of knowing that the timing, place and manner of their death is under their control. Thus we believe that people who live in the UK should be given the opportunity of a medically assisted death if that is their considered choice.
At present, those who can afford it can choose to go for help to one of several organisations in Switzerland, where assisted dying is available even for non-residents. However, there's a number of practical and legal issues for those who do so – and this route unfairly rules out many people who would like to do so but do not have the physical or financila resources. Hence our campaign in the UK.
One of our patrons Paul Lamb (who died in 2021), launched a legal challenge against the government to give him the certainty he sought, should he reach the stage where he wished to avail himself of medical assistance – unfortunately, as in all legal challenges before Paul's, the courts have said that assisted dying is a matter for Parliament. That is why our campaign is now focused on the political decision-makers.
By working to change the law MDMD will, if successful, bring considerable comfort to many people who already face enormous challenges and allow them to die with dignity in a place and in the presence of those they choose.
In practice, legal change will now come only when Parliament legislates for it. Accordingly, we are working to forge good working relationships with MPs sympathetic to our campaign. We are keen that they consider the possibility of a citizens' jury - as has happened in France and Jersey - to establish the will of the people for Parliament to follow.
However, there are many influential groups with which we need to have a dialogue so that concerns likely to be raised by MPs can be addressed – those include medical, religious and disability organisations.
We seek every opportunity to influence key players.
Recent examples of our work include:
My Death, My Decision campaigns for a compassionate assisted dying law to help end unnecessary suffering for the terminally ill and those...