Poll finds majority of religious Brits favour assisted dying

Most religious Britons believe faith leaders should not intervene in laws concerning assisted dying


The majority of Britons believe religious leaders should not stand in the way of assisted dying, according to a new poll. 

The news comes as an alliance of faith leaders, chaired by Rabbi Jonathan Romain, has formed today to challenge religious arguments against assisted dying. 

A YouGov survey of more than 5,000 adults found that 53 per cent of people belonging to a religion believe their leaders should not have lobbied politicians to prevent them from changing the law on euthanasia in 2015.

MPs voted overwhelmingly to reject the Assisted Dying Act six years ago after leaders from all religions, including Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, campaigned against allowing doctors to help the terminally ill end their lives.   

According to the YouGov poll, only 22 per cent of people belonging to a faith believe religious intervention in the Act was correct. 

Meanwhile, among non-religious people surveyed, 70 per cent agree it is wrong for faith leaders to intervene in and influence politicians.

The new religious alliance supporting assisted dying comprises members of Judaism, the Church of England, Quakers, Methodists, Unitarians, the United Reformed Church, Muslims, Catholics and those from Baptist and evangelical backgrounds.

Rabbi Jonathan Romain told The Times that the aim of the group is “to challenge the misguided and inaccurate view that people of faith are monolithically opposed to assisted dying”.

He said: “Many people of faith from all denominations, both lay people and leaders, support a law that would enable true end-of-life choice in this country. 

“There is no sanctity in suffering, nothing holy about agony. We support a change in the law on assisted dying because of our faith, not in spite of it.”

In May, a private member’s bill to legalise assisted dying in England and Wales for the terminally ill was brought to parliament.

Under the terms of the bill, two doctors and a High Court judge would have to assess each euthanasia request, which if approved would allow an ill person to die at a time, place and manner of their choosing. 

The bill is due for a second reading in the Autumn.


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