VES (Voluntary Euthanasia Society)

The first society of its kind in the world — its founders included doctors, lawyers and churchmen — the VES was set up in England in 1935. The announced aim of the VES is to make it legal for a competent adult suffering unbearably from an incurable illness to receive medical help to die at their own considered and persistent request.

The English chapter of VS created considerable controversy in 1979 when it voted to publish the first guide to committing suicide. Word of the booklet caused the VES membership to quadruple, but publication of the guide was blocked by England’s attorney general. A year later, the Scottish members of VES formed an independent society to publish the guide in Scotland.

The VES also distributes living wills for refusing unwanted life-prolonging treatment. The prototype living will has been approved by the British Medical Association.

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