Group scrutinized for inflating number of UK citizens seeking assisted suicide

assisted suicide, assisted death, euthanasia, euthanized

The assisted suicide lobby is facing mounting scrutiny after significantly inflating the number of British individuals seeking assisted suicide at the Swiss clinic, ‘Dignitas,’ each year.

During an interview on Sky News, Dr. Jacky Davis, a board member of the pro-assisted suicide group, Dignity in Dying, asserted that “over 600 people a year in this country [the UK] go to Dignitas; we are outsourcing assisted deaths at the moment.”

According to Right to Life UK, the real figure is considerably lower. Dr. Davis inflated the statistics by more than twentyfold.

Dignitas’ own website shared a press release from March stating that 33 British people had an assisted death at Dignitas in 2022, which was a 44% increase from 2021. In other words, the actual number of British people dying at Dignitas is nowhere close to the 600 number provided by Dr. Davis.

“This is the highest number since the pandemic began, and the overall fifth highest number of annual British deaths at Dignitas since 2002,” the press release stated. “Before the pandemic, around 50 Brits a year – approximately one a week – on average died with assistance in Switzerland at Dignitas, which is the only provider to publicly release statistics, and other facilities. During the pandemic, when travel restrictions were in place, the number of British assisted deaths at Dignitas halved between 2019 and 2020.”

Moreover, the numbers provided by Dr. Davis stand in stark contrast to the figures presented by another representative of Dignitas, Silvan Luley, during a testimony before the Health and Social Care Committee earlier this year. Luley reported that over the past two decades, a total of 540 individuals from the UK had chosen to end their lives at the Dignitas clinic. Troublingly, this revelation exposes Dr. Davis’ claim of 600 annual assisted suicide cases at Dignitas from the UK as a 2,100% exaggeration.

READ: Canadian health authorities reportedly ‘destroying palliative care’ in favor of assisted suicide

At the time, Luley’s testimony drew significant media attention from various news outlets. For example, the Guardian reported that Luley indicated Dignitas had assisted 540 British individuals in ending their lives since 2002. This stark contrast implies that the figure provided by Dr. Davis is more in line with the total number of individuals the clinic has aided throughout its entire history, not on an annual basis.

Commenting on the inflated numbers, Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said “This gross exaggeration about the number of people from the UK who end their lives in Dignitas each year cannot go unchallenged. Fortunately, Dr, Macdonald was able to point out this error during the discussion, but incredibly, the assisted suicide lobbyist doubled down. This important debate is not helped by peddling such falsehoods.”

This incident raises questions about the reliability of the information being put forth by the assisted suicide lobby. Live Action News has repeatedly reported on Dignitas, which is a very well-known assisted dying organization in Switzerland where a person need not be terminally ill in order to undergo euthanasia. Back in 2014, the clinic euthanized a healthy elderly woman upon her request simply because she had “lost her looks.” 

Dignitas has also been behind the push in British parliament to legalize assisted death. Currently, the Suicide Act 1961 makes it illegal to encourage or assist a person in suicide in England and Wales. In fact, Luley told Parliament earlier this year that the group finds it “inadequate and incoherent” that the UK has not legalized the killing of certain citizens. At the time, several MPs expressed concerns about what kind of message it sends to legalize assisted dying legislation, especially for people with disabilities, and the dangers of elder abuse. 

Tragically, the push for legalization of assisted suicide has occurred alongside a decrease in palliative care funding. Last year, Live Action News reported that more than 1,300 patients each year in England are losing their palliative care funding from the National Health Service because they are living longer than the government expected.

The UK stands at a critical crossroads, faced with the choice of prioritizing palliative care over the legalization of assisted suicide. This decision carries the weight of a profound message – whether to convey that every life is valuable and worth saving, or to signal that investing in palliative care is not a priority and life is disposable.

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