Dying with dignity or playing god? Despite drawing a broad coalition of support on religious, medical and moral grounds, the question of legalising assisted dying in the UK remains unanswered. In this episode of Undiscovered, we meet people immersed in both sides of the debate - as well as someone for whom it is not a political concern, but a personal and immediate consideration.
This episode focuses on the specific debate around assisted dying. In a key distinction made by many campaigners, assisted dying applies to terminally ill people only, unlike the broader eligibility sought out for euthanasia or assisted suicide.
For those who support assisted dying, such as Barbara Coombs Lees, who helped legalise the practice in the US, and Ellie Ball, a campaigns officer at Dignity in Dying UK, this differentiation emphasises the empathy and compassion in helping someone already at the end of their lives, to end it without suffering.
However, those on the other side of the debate think the reframing of the issue is obscuring the mortal moral? reality of the act. In this episode, we hear from Phil Friend, from Not Dead Yet UK, who highlights what he believes are the risks for more vulnerable groups, such as the disabled community, who stand to be victimised by these laws.
For Patrick Wymer, the language used is less important. Since he was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in 2017, he’s thought deeply about the possibility of seeking an assisted death. He offers us perhaps the most balanced, human insight into what remains a deeply complicated debate.