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Assisted Dying: should it be legalised?

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Next week (14th May,) Jane Nicklinson, the widow of ‘Right to Die’ campaigner, the late Tony Nicklinson will begin her quest to see the Court of Appeal overturn the High Court ruling against doctor-assisted death. She will be joined by Paul Lamb who is severely paralysed and is seeking a separate court declaration that any doctor who killed him would have a defence against a charge of murder.

In what is shaping up to be the start of a momentous week and long battle, Lord Charles Falconer QC will be tabling an Assisted Dying Bill in the House of Lords on Wednesday 15th May, seeking to legalise the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill adults with less than six months to live.

In England and Wales, it is an offence to encourage or assist a suicide.The law is almost identical in Northern Ireland and anti-euthanasia campaigners say the current law protects vulnerable people.

Joining us in this special Benenden Health assisted dying live webTV show are Heather Pratten, Official Patron of Dignity in Dying, who is in support of assisted dying and Mik Scarlet, Broadcaster and Journalist, who is against a change in the law. Mik has experience of members of the medical profession questioning his "quality of life", even though he is happily married and has a successful career in the media, things which many non-disabled people dream of.

Heather herself has been put on bail for murder for being with her son Nigel (who had hereditary degenerative neurological disorder, Huntington's disease) and putting a pillow over his face when he lost consciousness from the overdose. In the end she was charged with aiding and abetting a suicide and received a conditional discharge for one year.

So where do you stand in this controversial debate? Would you consider assisting a loved one to die, knowing it is illegal in the UK? Would you travel to another country where assisted dying is legal to help a loved one die as/when they choose? What circumstances should qualify for the right for any ‘assisted dying’ law to be utilised?

Join the live Benenden Health webTV show where we have two voices from different sides of the assisted dying debate, who will be discussing the whole issue in much more detail.


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