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Dignity in Dying – a UK campaign to legalize the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults – claims to have the backing of the general public. Now it has actor Patrick Stewart's support as well.

A hugely controversial subject, the legalization of assisted death is feared by those who believe it will lead to pressure on the terminally ill to die sooner in order not to be a burden.

Author Terry Pratchett thinks that is overreaching. In an interview with Pratchett, TVNZ reported, “he says there is no reason [assisted death] should be illegal and does not believe it will mean that ‘grannies are going to be marched into the gas chambers’”.

Those in favor of having the choice see it as freeing the terminally ill from a long and arduous period of pain and suffering until they die, and many patients do feel they would rather not be a long-term burden on their families when there is no chance for any quality of life or for recovery. Others simply believe they should have the right to choose a dignified death.

“We have no control over how we arrive in the world,” says Patrick Stewart, “but at the end of a life we should have control over how we leave it.”

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