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Dr Gordon Macdonald in the Scotsman: assisted suicide and euthanasia should not be promoted

8th Oct 2018 - Rachael Adams

CARE for Scotland's Parliamentary Officer Dr Gordon Macdonald writes for the Scotsman about the dangers of legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia. He draws on evidence from countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands who have legalised euthanasia to argue that such laws cannot be kept safe from negligence and abuse. 

"In any country where assisted ­suicide and euthanasia have been legalised, vulnerable people are at risk of coming under pressure to end their lives prematurely. Elderly people are particularly vulnerable. People don’t want to be a burden on family, friends or health services. This fear of being a burden means the right to die becomes a duty to die. Meanwhile, people with disabilities may fear that their doctors will make treatment decisions on the basis of subjective value judgements about quality of life.

Incrementally, the scope of the law is extended to include new categories of people. It spreads from the terminally ill to the chronically ill, from adults to ­children, from those with physical illness to those with mental illness, to disabled people and to those who are just tired of life. Introducing assisted suicide also means a radical change occurs in medical thinking where ending the life of patients becomes a normal treatment option. In the Netherlands, there are many cases where incapacitated patients have been euthanised without ­giving explicit consent. Disabled, newborn babies with spina bifida have been killed under the Groningen Protocol. In Belgium, since 2014 the euthanasia law has been extended to include children aged under 12. Year on year increases occur in the number of deaths by assisted suicide and euthanasia."

To read the article in full please click here. 


Read more about our work on assisted suicide and euthanasia here. 


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