The Canadian Senate has passed new laws allowing doctors to actively assist terminally ill patients to die, if it is their wish.

Previously active euthanasia, where sedatives or muscle relaxants are given by doctors to kill patients was only legal in Quebec, although passive euthanasia, where a withholding of food and water speeds death was decriminalised in 1972, Currently active euthanasia in Europe is only legal in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. In the USA it is legal in a handful of states, these recently including California.

In the UK, according to pro-euthanasia charity Dignity in Dying, 82% of the British public support a change in our laws on assisted dying for terminally ill patients. On this issue the doctor’s union, the British Medical Association (BMA) is out of step with the public with two thirds recently voting to continue its opposition to civilised and compassionate euthanasia and 50% voting for the ostrich policy of not even debating the question.

A recent YouGov survey found that just 7% of the British public supported the BMA’s position.

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