“Assisted suicide will produce a society where disabled people and people with serious health conditions struggle even more to have their needs met.”
– Dr Miro Griffiths.
Dr Miro Griffiths, expert advisor on disability and spokesman for Better Way
As a disabled person and expert advisor on disability to national and supranational bodies including the UN, Dr Miro Griffiths is opposed to ‘assisted dying’. He believes a change in the law would:
- Undermine the fight against inequalities disabled people face.
- See pressure placed on disabled people to end their lives.
- Cause heightened anxiety in the disabled people’s community.
- Open the door to more permissive legislation in the future.
Dr Griffiths states:
“There is to my knowledge no disabled people’s organisation in the UK that actively supports assisted suicide. I think it’s quite telling that you have bodies such as the United Nations committee on the Rights of Disabled People coming out with strong warnings about assisted suicide mechanisms.
“Organisations’ thinking on this issue fits within a broader concern about disabled people’s exclusion – their struggle to access sufficient services. Many would say that assisted suicide is incompatible with disabled people’s rights. You can’t have a programme that allows disabled people’s deaths to be facilitated whilst also arguing that their lives matter and should be protected.
“I’m not dismissing the voices of people who say, ‘I want to end my life’. It is compassionate to listen and empathise. However, it is also compassionate to raise concerns about that suggestion and articulate an alternative path.
“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. Once we have realised these things, my assumption would be we’ll no longer need to debate assisted suicide.
“I’d urge politicians in all parties to these proposals. 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.”