Dignity in Dying campaigns for choice - choice over where we die, who is present and what medical treatment we do (or do not) receive at the end of our lives. We campaign for people to have the choice of good quality end-of-life care, to be cared for in their preferred place at the end of life, and if their suffering becomes unbearable in their last days and weeks of life we campaign for them to have the choice of an assisted death.
Greater choice at the end of life benefits many more people than actually choose an assisted death because it provides comfort. In countries where assisted dying is legal, many people benefit from the comfort of knowing the option is available if their suffering became unbearable. in the US State of Oregon, for example, each year around 40% of people who obtain life-ending medication do not take it, but draw comfort from having the option.
A lack of choice at the end of life forces people to make desperate decisions:
- Some people travel abroad to die much earlier than they would otherwise choose to die, if they ever did.
- Some people attempt to end their lives at home, alone.
- Others ask loved ones or doctors to help them to die, illegally.