Exploring public views on assisted dying in England.
A public engagement project to explore people's views on assisted dying in England.
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Assisted dying is a highly complex, sensitive, and ethically charged topic. Many jurisdictions worldwide do not permit assisted dying but there has been an increasing number considering or passing legislation to permit it in recent years.
Some form of assisted dying is legal in at least 27 jurisdictions, including all six states in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, ten states in the USA, and the Netherlands. The law in jurisdictions that permit some form of assisted dying varies on eligibility and governance.
Whilst assisted dying is not permitted in England, and despite the longstanding ethical debate on the topic, there is a gap in robust qualitative evidence on public views towards assisted dying and the underpinning social, ethical, and practical issues raised by the subject in England. Most available data exploring public perspectives on assisted dying in England are based on opinion polls which often do not capture relevant complexities involved in the debate. This lack of in-depth evidence is frequently referenced in political discussions as a reason for not revisiting the topic and when we engaged with experts across the UK Government and the health policy sector, we heard that quality evidence on public opinion would be a welcome contribution to informing the debate on assisted dying.
Our work seeks to explore public views on assisted dying in England and the associated social, ethical, and practical considerations that they consider important in forming their views and in their deliberations. We have commissioned Hopkins Van Mil who will be partnering with M.E.L Research and the Sortition Foundation to design, facilitate, and organise a series of surveys and a Citizens’ Jury to unpack people's perspectives on assisted dying and the associated social, ethical, and practical considerations that underpin them.
We will not be publishing our own recommendations or an organisational position on assisted dying, or the ethics of assisted dying, as part of this project. Our focus will be on supporting an informed public debate on the topic and publishing the findings from the public engagement and survey work.
If you would like to contact us about this project, please email us on ADpublicengagement@nuffieldbioethics.org