Euthanasia and assisted dying
The great majority of Humanists and Secularists support legal provision for voluntary euthanasia or assisted dying subject to necessary safeguards in circumstances where people are suffering unendurable pain or loss of faculties and there is no hope of cure or improvement.
Since we hold that this is the only life we have and that we are not beholden to any deity, we see it as essentially a personal decision whether or not to accept help to end one’s life. Many will wish to continue to the end; but many will wish to have a good and easy death rather than endure a humiliating and unrewarding conclusion to their lives.
In taking such a decision, as with any other decision a humanist takes, one must take account of the effects the decision may have on others – which includes not just the burden that caring for them places on others but also the possibly devastating effect of their loss on close family and friends.
It can only be a highly personal decision but it is one people should be free to take, with safeguards to guard against real or imagined pressure from family and against the effects of clinical depression, etc.
The EHF has over the years issued a number of statements critical of the position of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and some of its members, calling on it to reconsider its restrictive position.
Here are some lnks to relevant material:
Euthanasia: We must promote solidarity (article by Georges Liénard – October 1995)
Press release deploring PACE resolution (28 June 1999)
Press release protesting at PACE rapporteur’s statement (December 2000)
Statement on the PACE Debate on Voluntary Euthanasia (4 October 2002)
Euthanasia: opponents reduced to underhand manoeuvres (23 February 2012)