Disability rights activists have announced that, should it be given lead to proceed, they will intervene in a new bid for assisted suicide in the High Court
No mainstream disability advocacy organisation favours a change in the law on assisted suicide, which disabled people fear would threaten how they are perceived and treated by wider society. Those opposed include Not Dead Yet UK (NDY), 'a network of disabled people in the UK who have joined a growing international alliance of disabled people, who oppose the legalised killing of disabled people. All those involved are disabled people including people with physical and sensory impairments, learning difficulties, and mental health conditions.' In response to an application by Noel Conway and Dignity in Dying for a judicial review covering much the same ground as the Nicklinson/Lamb case, which went all the way to the Supreme Court, NDY have announced that they will formally intervene in the case, should it be approved. Juliet Marlow set out their position in principle last month.
Not Dead Yet see their planned intervention 'as an important opportunity to provide much needed security to disabled and terminally people who are fearful of the future should current safeguards in the law be weakened.' They note that:
'This issue was last considered by the House of Commons just 18 months ago (September 2015). when Rob Marris MP's "Assisted Dying Bill" was decisively defeated by 330 to 118 votes. The change in the law sought by Mr Conway is essentially identical to the provisions of that Bill.'
Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, one of the founders of Not Dead Yet UK said:
'We have successfully seen off attempts to change the law on assisted suicide in Parliament. Now we must change tactics to ensure the Courts continue to uphold our equal right to life. The law must not be weakened via the back door.'
Liz Carr, star of BBC1 drama 'Silent Witness' and creator of 'Assisted Suicide: the Musical', states:
'Disabled and terminally ill people want support to live - not to die. It is important that the Court hears from the people most at risk from any change to the current law. As a long standing supporter of Not Dead Yet UK I am keen to take an active role in making that happen.'