Last year, because assisted dying is illegal mainly due to religious opposition in the UK, Jeffrey Spector, pictured above with his wife Elaine, was forced to travel to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to end his life.
Elaine Spector explained here that her husband was suffering a terminal illness:
Jeffrey said that if he had had the comfort of knowing that he could die in England when things got really bad for him, he would have chosen to live longer.
As it was, he felt he had to end his life sooner as he wished to be able to travel abroad under his own steam and in control. It is a huge source of regret and loss to us that Jeffrey had to shorten his life because there was no humane way for him to die in England with assistance.
I believe very strongly that no family should be faced with the situation that we had to face of arranging to have an assisted death in a foreign country.
Jeffrey always said that had he been able to have an assisted death at home, he would have thrown a party and said goodbye to all his friends and when he was too unwell to carry on, he would have asked for a dignified and painless ending – that is all he wanted.
Now, through a campaign called Your Death, Your Choice, Elaine, together with two other parties – “J” and “V” – are trying to raise Funds to mount a Legal challenge to the Assisted Dying Ban through litigation in the High Court. But such litigation needs a substantial amount of cash.
We need your help to change the law. We cannot do this on our own and without funding – we are not eligible for legal aid and most of us cannot afford to litigate as we have families to look after. This issue is of public importance and we should fight for this change together. We need to raise funds to bring a case in the courts.
Parliament has not provided the solution we hoped for. The House of Commons debate was too emotive and not based on evidence. We need to bring a case before the High court which can assess all the evidence, the risk and the benefits – the hearing could last weeks.
In order to raise an initial £50,000, a Your Death, Your Choice crowdfunder appeal has been launched on behalf of Elaine Spector and two other parties by the Public Law team at Bindmans LLP. It says:
Those who plan to challenge the law say: ‘We are just two representative families. There are many others in the same situation. We are doing it for everyone who believes in the right to autonomy over death. We believe there is a public interest in this legal action going forward.’
We need £50,000 initially. This will cover steps up to but excluding trial. Getting statements and experts on board, preparing a letter to send setting out the factual and legal basis of the claim, considering the government’s reply, gathering evidence, legal research and attending hearings to manage the case, determine how long the trial will be and set dates. If we can get that far, we will need to review the case and costs in order to carry on.
This crowdfunder allows us to retain all of the funds we raise, even if we don’t reach our target. We will use the funds to start working on the initial stages of the case: investigating evidence, taking statements and completing the pre-litigation work.
What you can do:
• You can help by donating money;
• Spread the word by forwarding the crowdfunding page to your contacts.
Earlier this year, after BBC 2 aired How to Die: Simon’s Choice, a documentary chronicling businessman Simon Binner’s decision to kill himself because of his advancing Motor Neurone Disease, the corporation was attacked by Andrea Minichiello Williams, above, of Christian Concern, who said here:
The implication of the documentary is that many elderly and disabled people are no more than ‘wasted space’, when nothing could be further from the truth!
We must oppose this and instead affirm the value of all human life as created in God’s image.
The current law protects vulnerable people, and must be upheld in the face of ongoing attempts to liberalise it.
It is interesting that the BBC did not choose to contrast Mr Binner’s story with that of a person who chose palliative care over suicide.