Withdrawal of 'misleading' assisted suicide campaign film welcomed

(Photo: Unsplash/Eduard Militaru)

A coalition of organisations opposed to the legalisation of assisted suicide has welcomed the withdrawal of a controversial campaign video by pro-euthanasia group Dignity in Dying. 

The two-minute film, called The Inescapable Truth, was pulled from Dignity in Dying's digital platforms last week following considerable backlash. 

The video was made in partnership with creative agency Raw London and depicts a man dying in agony in a hospice. 

It was created to generate conversation around the launch of a new report by the group setting out the case for a change in the law on assisted dying.

"This film was designed to convey complex subject matter in an accessible way," Dignity in Dying said.

"While the characters and storyline are fictional, they are a composite of some of the real world end-of-life experiences that people shared with us for our research.

"We took clinical advice throughout the creative process and are confident that the video is a realistic portrayal of what can and does happen to a small but significant proportion of dying people in the UK."

Hospice UK, the national charity for hospice care in the UK, raised strong objections to the video, saying in an open letter to Dignity in Dying that the portrayal of end of life care was "misleading and irresponsible". 

Hospice UK chief executive Tracey Bleakley said: "It plays on people's anxiety and fear about the end of life.

"We are disappointed that sensationalist campaigning has overshadowed a well-written and argued report."

Dr Gordon Macdonald, Chief Executive of anti-euthanasia coalition Care Not Killing, welcomed the withdrawal of the film.

"We are pleased that following a considerable backlash and pressure from doctors and Hospice UK, this despicable and misleading film has finally been removed," he said. 

"Doctors and nurses condemned the film as giving an unrealistic view of what people experience in hospitals and hospices and using scare tactics about what people are likely to experience following a diagnosis of a terminal condition."