‘Assisted dying threatens disabled people’

Assisted suicide would “produce a society where disabled people and people with serious health conditions struggle even more to have their needs met”, an expert has warned.

Dr Miro Griffiths MBE, who has advised the UK Government and the European Commission on disability policy, is urging Scottish politicians not to support legislation before Holyrood.

In a video interview publicised this week, Dr Griffiths explains that a change in the law would undermine the fight against inequalities disabled people face.

He warns of pressure being placed on disabled people to end their lives due to insufficient support. And he says the prospect of a law change is causing significant anxiety.

Dr Griffiths commented:

“As a disabled person who is permanently struggling to have their needs met and be valued, and as a sociologist who questions how and why we organise societies, my feeling is that many people will opt for assisted suicide on the basis that they are fed up with the struggles they are experiencing. People will be so desperate to remove the injustices they face they will choose this option of death and to me that’s not a good rationale for having such a system.

“Assisted suicide will fundamentally change the way we understand life and death for marginalised communities, including disabled people. People are struggling on a daily basis to access sufficient support. Because of this, there can never be a safeguard that’s effective enough. If you don’t have accessible and inclusive societies, why would you even be contemplating the idea of marginalised communities being exposed to assisted suicide?

“For me, the better way forward is building a truly accessible, inclusive, and participatory society. We need to focus on what appropriate palliative care looks like. How do we make it well-resourced and available to all people as their health needs change? We need to ask what kind of health service we want and work to ensure people don’t feel ashamed or stigmatised because of how their bodies function.

“I’d urge politicians in all parties to oppose the proposals before the Scottish Parliament. They are dangerous. They are toxic. They will produce a society where disabled people, and people with serious health conditions, will struggle even more to have their needs met.”


About Better Way

Better Way opposes assisted suicide, sets out an alternative vision, and provides a platform for marginalised voices. The campaign is supported by experts in several fields including medicine, disability advocacy, and sociology. Find out more: Website | Social media