The British Attitudes Survey published today has found that 80% of people support voluntary euthanasia for 'a person with an incurable and painful illness, from which they will die, for example someone dying of cancer.'

Dr Peter Saunders, Campaign Director for the Care Not Killing Alliance, which represents 43 organisations opposed to euthanasia, said, 'This opinion poll which purports to show that a large majority of people would favour a change in the law to allow euthanasia, is misleading as it has been based on reflex answers to a yes/no question without any explanatory context about how receiving good palliative care leads people to change their minds about assisted dying or about how such a law would endanger vulnerable people. It depends very much on how you ask the question.

Those most in favour of euthanasia tend to be the uninformed 'worried well'. By contrast people with disabilities or terminal illness very rarely even wish to discuss euthanasia, either because they have experienced what good palliative care can offer, or they have adapted to their disability or illness.

A major poll carried out by Communicate Research last May 2006, at the time the House of Lords overwhelmingly rejected a change in the law to allow assisted suicide, showed that 65 per cent of people agreed that if such a change went ahead, 'vulnerable people could feel under pressure to opt for suicide', 75 per cent agreed that 'people with treatable illness such as depression might opt prematurely for suicide' and 73% agreed that such a law would 'make it more difficult to detect rogue doctors such as Dr Harold Shipman'.

See Also

The Times - 80% of public support right to die with doctor's help

The Guardian - Four out of five want to give doctors right to end life of terminally ill patients in pain

CNK Website - Euthanasia Bill would give green light for more Shipman cases, according to new poll