Richard Branson on the right to die: ‘An assisted dying law would not result in more people dying, but in fewer people suffering’

The Virgin entrepreneur took to Twitter to voice his support for Lord Falconers' bill

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The Independent Online

Richard Branson has become the latest famous face to lend his support to the campaign for an assisted dying law.

The Virgin entrepreneur took to Twitter to voice his support for Lord Falconers' bill, that proposes allowing doctors to prescribe a lethal dose to terminally ill patients judged to have less than six months to live.

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“An assisted dying law would not result in more people dying, but in fewer people suffering,” he posted, adding a link to his blog on the Virgin.com website.

“Watching a loved one suffer over a long and drawn-out period can be utterly devastating,” he writes. “However, this isn’t about relatives of loved ones making the decision. It’s about those who are terminally ill but still mentally capable making the decisions about their own life and death.”

Elsewhere, he states: “Current UK law places an absolute ban on assisting another person to die, and anyone who is caught assisting a suicide is punishable with up to 14 years of imprisonment under the Suicide Act 1961. The Act is more than half a century old, and is out of step with public opinion.

 

“In fact, a recent YouGov poll found 73% of adults in England and Wales support the proposals in Lord Falconer’s assisted dying bill.”

“The House of Lords needs to look Oregon in the US, where an assisted dying law has worked for over 16 years,” he concludes. “The state has reported no cases of abuse and no calls to extend the law beyond terminally ill, mentally competent adults.

“Passing this bill in the UK is a step the right direction for establishing a European or universal law, which I believe is long overdue.”

Branson joins Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Hawking, both of whom have been vocal about their support for the passing of the Assisted Dying Bill this week.

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