Should assisted dying be legal in the UK? Here's what readers think

Yahoo UK's poll of the week lets you vote and indicate your strength of feeling on one of the week's hot topics. After 72 hours the poll closes and, each Friday, we'll publish and analyse the results, giving readers the chance to see how polarising a topic has become and if their view chimes with other Yahoo UK readers.

Esther Rantzen leaving after the Service of Thanksgiving for Forces' sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn at Westminster Abbey, London. The singer and entertainer lifted people's spirits during the Second World War with songs including We'll Meet Again and The White Cliffs Of Dover. She died in June 2020, aged 103. Picture date: Monday March 21, 2022. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
Esther Rantzen is campaigning for a change in the law on assisted dying. (Getty) (Kirsty O'Connor - PA Images via Getty Images)

With the debate on assisted dying in the news again this week following comments made by Esther Rantzen, we asked Yahoo UK readers if they think the law in the UK should be changed.

Presenter Rantzen, 83, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2023, has revealed she has signed up to Swiss assisted dying company Dignitas and is campaigning for a parliamentary debate and a free vote to legalise assisted dying with “built-in precautions to protect the interests of the person”.

Also this week, an author who documented her experience with dementia announced her own death in a posthumous blog post - adding to the debate on assisted dying.

Bestselling author Wendy Mitchell, 68, was diagnosed with early-onset vascular dementia and Alzheimer's in 2014, aged 58, and went on to write about her condition, including advocating for assisted dying. She has now announced her own death in her blog post that she said would have been posted by her daughters.

In her final blog post, Mitchell wrote: "If you're reading this, it means this has probably been posted by my daughters as I've sadly died. Sorry to break the news to you this way, but if I hadn't, my inbox would eventually have been full of emails asking if I'm OK, which would have been hard for my daughters to answer... In the end, I died simply by deciding not to eat or drink anymore."

She added: "Sadly, assisted dying isn’t an option in this country. With something that will affect 100 per cent of the population, regardless of wealth, intelligence or ethnicity, it’s amazing how such little value is placed on the act of dying."

Yahoo News UK asked our readers for their views on assisted dying and whether it should be legal, here are the results:

Assisted dying
Assisted dying - Poll of the Week results (Yahoo News UK)
Poll of the Week - how strong do readers feel? (Yahoo News UK)
Poll of the Week - how strong do readers feel? (Yahoo News UK)

Our poll from Monday at midday until midday Thursday asked: 'Do you think assisted dying should be legal in the UK?'.

It received 7,302 votes and showed the majority of Yahoo readers felt there should be a change in the law.

Some 82% of voters said they felt strongly the law should change, with just 13% saying they felt strongly that it should remain illegal and 5% did not lean either way.

82% felt strongly that the law should change

Yahoo News UK readers were also asked: 'How strongly do you feel about the law on assisted dying?'

This poll received 3,370 votes with the most common vote being 10, indicating many readers felt strongly about the law on assisted dying.

The average strength-of-feeling score on all the votes was 8.46.

The most common vote was 10, indicating many readers feel strongly about the law on assisted dying

Our original poll article can be found here.

Read more of Yahoo UK's Poll of the Week articles