Dame Esther Rantzen says huge thank you over assisted dying campaign – sign petition here | UK | News

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Dame Esther Rantzen says huge thank you over assisted dying campaign – sign petition here | UK | News

The campaigner paid reverence to those backing the campaign for the right to die and for sharing deeply moving personal testimonies.

She revealed she had been bombarded with harrowing stories – many deciding to get in touch after reading this newspaper’s agenda-setting coverage – which had moved her to tears and reinforced her stance. 

Widowed grandmother-of-five Dame Esther, 83, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last January. 

She is now spearheading the push to reform « cruel » laws which punish those helping someone die with a potential 14-year jail stretch. A Daily Express petition demanding action on the issue has now topped 70,000 signatures in two weeks. 

To sign our petition visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/653593

Writing for this newspaper Dame Esther said: “I cannot express how deeply I have been moved by the letters I have received, and the extraordinary response to our petition asking for Parliament to act to change the current cruel law. Many bring tears to my eyes. 

“I have been incredibly inspired by the compassion and support I have received. Not only from those who share my view, and describe their experience of losing someone they love, memories which must cause them so much pain to share, but they do so because they know their evidence proves how inhumane the current law can be. 

“So thank you to the people in public life who have joined our campaign. And most of all, thank you to all the people, a miraculous 70,000 of you who have already signed the petition. »

The historic legal scandal preventing an individual choosing how and when to die convinced the former That’s Life! presenter to sign up to Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas. 

Yet the prohibitive costs of doing so – at least £10,000 – has made the right to death impecunious for those living with terminal illnesses but without the means to end their suffering.

MPs last voted on assisted dying in 2015, but refused to amend the Coroners and Justice Act outlawing the practice as murder or manslaughter.

Mum-of-three Dame Esther lost beloved husband Desmond Wilcox to heart disease in 2000.

Their daughter Rebecca Wilcox, 43, said: “I know that when my father died, all we thought about for years were those last seconds. Those last moments when there were tubes, there was blood, there was beeping, there were nurses, they were doctors, there was a lot of crying and that’s all I could remember of my father for so long.

“Mum has had such a life, such a legacy. Even as a mother, let alone as the campaigning broadcaster that she’s known as, so just to remember her in pain and unhappiness would be awful. A waste. Such a waste. »

Dame Esther and her family, including doctor son Joshua, all agree palliative care is « wonderful » but cannot prevent some dying in acute pain. 

They are fully supportive of her decision to become a paid-up member of Dignitas but face potential murder or manslaughter charges if they accompany the lifelong activist and founder of ChildLine and The Silver Line to Zurich. 

The Daily Express crusade, backed and endorsed by Dame Esther, seeks to protect those we love, and those who are dying, from unnecessary suffering. She said: “We are calling for the right for all of us to choose. It’s our life, it should be our choice.”

In a direct appeal to lawmakers, Rebecca said: “Mum is my person. I do not want to live without her. I will have to live without her and please, please don’t make it worse for me by accusing me of murdering her and making me go through what would be a terrifying legal process.”

Our petition calling for a full Commons debate and vote was launched on January 8. At 100,000 signatures this demand must be considered.

Former Great British Bake Off host Dame Prue Leith, 83, Royle Family and Brookside actress Sue Johnston, 80, Olivier Award-winning Succession actress Dame Harriet Walter, 73, and British comedian and best-selling author Tony Hawks, 64, who lost his father to Parkinson’s, are also backing the campaign.

Devout Christian Ruth Davidson, 45, the former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, said: “I’ve happily signed and I encourage fellow politicians to step up to the plate. It is now time to change the law to help people have a better death. It is time to change the law to let people have more control over end of life decisions, up to and including how and where we die, who is there and the pain relief and treatment options we choose.

“We need all political parties to include a manifesto commitment to parliamentary time on this issue and a free vote for each member. And we need to have a proper grown up conversation in this country about this most difficult of issues.”

Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said: “The speed at which this petition has smashed the 70,000 signatures mark shows the public support for the legalisation of assisted dying is stronger than ever.

« Dame Esther is clearly galvanising the nation to make their voices heard. They know, many all too well, that as long as we do not change the law, dying people will continue to suffer, forced to choose between suffering potentially painful deaths, suicide or dying lonely deaths hundreds of miles away in Switzerland.

« Now the Government must listen. They cannot ignore the campaign’s demands: voters are calling on you to make time for assisted dying.”

Cet article est apparu en premier en ANGLAIS sur https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1857711/Esther-Rantzen-assisted-dying-petition


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