After cancer sufferer Bob Cole told ITV News that right-to-die laws in the UK must change before he chose to end his life, we take a look at the current legal position.
What is assisted suicide?
- Assisted suicide is when someone deliberately assists or encourages another person to kill themselves
What is the current legal position in the UK?
- Euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal under English law
- The Suicide Act 1961 makes it a criminal offence in England and Wales to:
- Anyone caught doing so could face up to 14 years in prison
- The law is almost identical in Northern Ireland
- Campaigners in Scotland argue the law there lacks clarity
- An Assisted Dying Bill was rejected by the Scottish Parliament in May
How does the UK's law compare to other countries?
Assisted suicide is currently only legal in:
- US states of Washington and Oregon
Are there any plans to change the law in the UK?
- Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill is due to be debated in the House of Commons on September 11
- If passed, it would allow doctors in England and Wales to end the life of a terminally ill and mentally competent patient with less than six months to live
- Two independent doctors would have to sign a declaration that the person had made a decision to die
- The patient would then administer the drugs themselves while in the company of a health professional
- The heath professional will not be allowed to administer the medicine
What do pro-assisted dying campaigners say?
What does the British Medical Association (BMA) say?