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Scottish assisted suicide legislation is unethical and unsafe - CARE

Assisted Suicide
23 September 2021
I Stock Scotoparl 0

Assisted suicide legislation expected to come before the Scottish Parliament is unethical and unsafe, CARE has said, as a public consultation on the proposals gets underway.

Michael Veitch, Parliamentary Officer for CARE for Scotland, stressed that the evidence of assisted suicide’s harms is “significant and has not changed since the last debate” in 2015.

Speaking this morning, Mr Veitch said:

“The evidence of assisted suicide’s harms is significant, and it has not changed since the last debate. If it becomes an option for patients, the ‘right to die’ could become a ‘duty to die’ for those who feel they are a burden. Do we think allowing guilt-ridden patients to end their lives is an ethical outcome? We also have to consider the case being made by campaigners. Is it watertight? I am yet to see any solid and reliable evidence from campaigners that proposed ‘safeguards’ would work and prevent abuse. Terminal prognoses are fraught, and coercion and abuse are almost impossible to detect and prevent. If there is any potential weakness or way around safeguards, it would be unconscionable to introduce this legislation.

"There is also the disturbing prospect of incremental extension. In other countries, narrow assisted suicide laws have quickly been extended to allow people with non-terminal conditions to end their lives. Do we really want to risk opening the door to people with mental health conditions being able to access assisted death, as in Canada? What message would this send about the value of these peoples’ lives? Proponents of assisted suicide cannot guarantee that this is not the trajectory Scotland would follow. There is only one true guarantee against this – keeping the door closed to any legislation.”

He added:

“It is dispiriting that we are again debating legislation on this matter in Scotland when parliamentarians so roundly rejected similar proposals in the past. They didn’t do this on a whim, or because they lacked compassion. They did so because of the overwhelming evidence that assisted suicide is a harmful and regressive practice, that threatens to undermine the safety and the value of vulnerable and marginalised groups. We appeal to MSPs in every party to reject this third attempt to introduce assisted suicide and focus on truly compassionate policies that help patients at the end of life.”


Notes for Editors:

For interview requests or more information please contact Jamie Gillies: // 07384467819

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Assisted Suicide

Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

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