Disabled people's lives will be at risk if Assisted Dying is legalised. This is the warning from Not Dead Yet UK, a campaigning network of disabled people being launched at the House of Lords on Friday 12 May. The group aims to raise awareness of disabled people's opposition to Lord Joffe's Bill on Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill.
"Not in our name" says Jane Campbell, convenor of Not Dead Yet UK (NDY UK), pointing out that not a single disabled people's organisation, national or local, has come out in support of this Bill.
Members of NDY UK, some of whom have terminal illnesses will be explaining their fears to the media and the peers on Friday, 12th May 2006 between 10am - 11:30am in Committee Room 4, the House of Lords. The meeting will be hosted by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff and Co-Chaired by Lord Carter of Devizes.
Baroness Finlay adds "This Bill is a parliamentary distraction from the real priorities of providing quality health and social care. We should be refocusing efforts to enhance the worth of every person's life, relieving their despair and not ending their lives. In the United Kingdom we have led the world in palliative care, but if this Bill proceeds we will give the message that death is the more appropriate solution to people suffering."
Until now debate on this issue has been left to the medical profession, religious groups and the courts. But what about the people the Bill is supposed to help?
Jane Campbell, speaking on behalf of NDY UK, said, "We oppose Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill because it is damaging and dangerous to terminally ill and disabled people. By singling us out for legalised killing it feeds the myth that our lives are not worth living. If assisted dying is legalised it will create pressure, particularly on those who are newly disabled, to end their lives." She continued, "If they really want to help us, Lord Joffe and other people of influence, should turn their attention to campaigning for proper health and social care support, so we can live our lives with dignity."
More information on Not Dead Yet UK is available on their website: www.livingwithdignity.info
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