But only 45 per cent of those surveyed think being terminally ill should be a necessary condition of having an assisted death. 74 per cent of Christians support it compared with 88 per cent of those with no religion. 61 per cent believe that assisted dying will be legalised at some point in the future but just 5 per cent believe it will be legalised in 2013
A new report from Cicero Research, ‘A Means to an End: An Analysis on the Assisted Dying Debate’, has found that 80 per cent of the UK public are in support of assisted dying, but only 45 per cent of them believe that being terminally ill should be a necessary condition in order to have an assisted death.
Cicero Research’s report is released on the same day that Lord Falconer is tabling a Private Members’ Bill on assisted dying in the House of Lords. However, according to the findings, only 5 per cent of the UK public believes assisted dying will be legalised in 2013.
But 61 per cent of the UK population think assisted dying will be legalised at some point in the future, with just 13 per cent believing it will never become law.
Interestingly, there is higher support for assisted dying among people who class themselves as having no religion (88 per cent) compared to Christians (74 per cent).
‘A Means to an End’ polled 1,015 people and contains original quotes from interviews with leading stakeholders involved in the debate, highlighting the strong divide in opinion among policymakers, medical professionals and religious leaders.
Lord Falconer’s Bill proposes that assisted dying should be legalised for people over the age of 18 who have a terminal illness and a life expenctancy of six months or less, half the time period proposed in his original recommendations in 2012.
Cicero Group health editor David Boot says: “Assisted dying is a controversial issue which provokes moral, medical, emotional, financial and religious considerations.
“It is clear that there is strong opposition among both the medical and political communities to any changes in legislation surrounding assisted dying being introduced. But by the same token, and as shown in our report, there are a growing number of people in favour of assisted dying in certain circumstances, with 88 per cent of the UK now in support.
“Whether Lord Falconer’s Bill gets through or not, there is no doubt that this debate will continue for many years, dividing opinions among politicians, medical professionals and the public alike.”
Findings for the report are based on the responses of over 1,015 individuals from the UK. Before taking the survey, these respondents were notified that they would be surveyed on a sensitive issue and were screened by age, gender and location based on a nationally representative sample.
Research was conducted via online questionnaire. The survey was conducted between 30 January 2013 and 4 February 2013. Additionally, a number of telephone and in-person interviews were conducted with key stakeholders and organisations involved in the assisted dying debate. A list of these can be found in the appendix of the report.
Source: Cicero Group