Time to change assisted dying law

The best tribute we can pay Terry Pratchett is to focus our minds on how we can bring our laws regarding assisted dying into line with what happens in practice, with overwhelming public opinion and with common sense.

There is a glaring mismatch between the wording and the application of the law. Since 1998, well over 200 Britons have broken the law by helping relatives go to the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland, where assisted dying is legal. On each occasion, the Crown Prosecution Service has decided against prosecution.

To add to the confusion, the law allows people to take their own lives (Suicide Act, 1961), while on the other hand, it defines as a criminal anyone assisting another to die. Thus it is a crime to help someone do something which is not a crime.

Surely only the most zealous of collectivists would continue to insist that intensely suffering people should be kept alive against their will?


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