The steady figures come as the British Parliament considers the possible legalization of assisted suicide as activists push for the law change and critics warn against making doctor-assisted killing legal.
The U.K. Parliament has throughout 2023 been holding an “inquiry into assisted dying/assisted suicide,” one in which ministers have been exploring the possibility of legalizing what the governing body calls “the involvement of health care professionals in the provision of lethal drugs intended to end a patient’s life at their voluntary request.”
Members of Parliament (MPs) held several hearings from May through July in which a variety of experts and academics offered insight into suicide legalization. At present, under U.K. law, assisted suicide can be treated as either murder or manslaughter, depending on the circumstances.
British politicians overwhelmingly rejected an attempt at assisted suicide legalization in 2015. A YouGov poll in 2021 found that only 35% of MPs supported changing British law to allow doctors to “assist in the suicide of someone suffering from a terminal illness.”
Assisted suicide and euthanasia have been topics of debate in Europe and the U.S. for years.
The practice is legal in several European countries including Germany and Spain, while several other countries are debating it.