Stephen Hawking speaks out in favour of assisted suicide

In an interview that will reignite the heated debate surrounding euthanasia,  71-year-old cosmologist Prof Stephen Hawking told the BBC: “We don’t let animals suffer, so why humans?” Photograph: Andrew Parsons/PA

In an interview that will reignite the heated debate surrounding euthanasia, 71-year-old cosmologist Prof Stephen Hawking told the BBC: “We don’t let animals suffer, so why humans?” Photograph: Andrew Parsons/PA

 

Scientist Prof Stephen Hawking has spoken out in favour of assisted suicide for people with terminal diseases.

Prof Hawking, who has motor neurone disease (MND), had previously been less supportive of the right to die, saying it was a mistake as “there is always hope”.

In an interview that will reignite the heated debate surrounding euthanasia, the 71-year-old cosmologist told the BBC: “We don’t let animals suffer, so why humans?”

He said: “I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their lives and those who help them should be free from prosecution.

“But there must be safeguards that the person concerned genuinely wants to end their life and they are not being pressurised into it or have it done without their knowledge or consent, as would have been the case with me.”

Prof Hawking was diagnosed with his disabling and incurable condition at 21 and told that he had just two or three years to live. – (PA)