Esther Rantzen urges MPs to attend debate on assisted dying

Esther Rantzen implores Members of Parliament to participate in a parliamentary debate concerning assisted dying, prompted by a petition signed by over 200,000 individuals advocating for the right of terminally ill individuals to seek medical assistance in ending their lives.

The debate will not involve a binding vote. Dame Esther, who is battling terminal lung cancer and disclosed her affiliation with Dignitas, a Swiss assisted dying clinic, emphasises the need for a change in legislation, allowing individuals to anticipate a pain-free death surrounded by loved ones.

She highlights the disparity in end-of-life care between humans and pets, underscoring the compassionate approach often afforded to animals. Dr. Amy Profitt, representing the Association for Palliative Medicine, voices reservations about the proposed change, citing concerns about coercion and advocating for an alternative model involving legal and psychiatric professionals.

The petition, urging parliamentary consideration and asserting the right of mentally sound terminally ill individuals to avoid unbearable suffering, sparks debates on both sides. While proponents argue for dignified end-of-life options, opponents state the importance of palliative care improvement.

The Ministry of Justice reaffirms Parliament’s role in deciding on sensitive matters like assisted dying, with previous legislative attempts facing defeat. New proposals emerge in Jersey and the Isle of Man, while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer calls for a free vote on the issue.

Read more stories

Join over 6,000 wills and probate practitioners – Check back daily for all the latest news, views, insights and best practice and sign up to our e-newsletter to receive our weekly round up every Friday morning. 

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.