Throughout the pandemic, questions of life and death have been unusually visible. From lockdowns to rapid vaccine development, huge resources and massive effort have been expended to save lives. Perhaps, then, it is an unusual moment for the UK to be considering legalising assisted dying. Or has the pandemic reinforced questions of what constitutes a good life – and a good death? Should people be given the choice, and assistance, to end their lives, or is it a threshold which must not be crossed?
The speakers in this debate filmed at the Battle of Ideas Festival 2021 are: David Pearce – Director of Fundraising and Marketing, Dignity in Dying Dr Richard Scheffer – Retired Consultant in palliative medicine; former hospice Medical Director; former Board Member, Dignity in Dying and Compassion in Dying Professor Katherine Sleeman – Laing Galazka Chair in Palliative Care, King’s College London; Honorary Consultant in Palliative Medicine, King’s College Hospital NHS Trust Dr Kevin Yuill – Associate Professor of history, University of Sunderland; author, Assisted Suicide: the Liberal, Humanist Case against Legalisation and The Second Amendment and Gun Control: Freedom, Fear, and the American Constitution The Chair is Joel Cohen – Associate fellow, Academy of Ideas