Scotland Pro-Life Advocates Launch Bid to Stop Debate on Assisted Suicide Bill
by Steven Ertelt
January 4, 2010
Glasgow, Scotland (LifeNews.com) — Scotland pro-life advocates have launched a new effort with the hope of preventing a debate on a bill in the Scottish Parliament that would legalize assisted suicide. An MSP sponsoring the bill hoped the parliament in Scotland will debate her measure.
MSP Margo MacDonald thought early last year that she had secured enough support from colleagues to introduce the measure.
MacDonald was guaranteed a debate on her measure as soon as 21 MSPs out of the 129 in the chamber indicated their support.
However, today, pro-life advocates wrote to Holyrood’s Presiding Officer arguing the bill should not be allowed to receive a debate and vote because it contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Care Not Killing campaign says the MSPs would be acting outside the parliament’s jurisdiction if they debate the bill.
Last year, Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish health minister, said she is opposed to the assisted suicide bill and worries that it will be abused to target the elderly and disabled.
Meanwhile, the British Medical Association has joined pro-life groups and disability rights advocates in opposing the bill.
The BMA would be very disappointed if we ended up with having legalized physician-assisted suicide in Scotland," Dr. George Fernie of the BMA said. People when they have a debilitating illness that may end their life are extremely vulnerable, they’re at a fragile stage. And our worry is they’re going to contemplate ending their life when that really isn’t their wish.
Also, the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics panned the bill, calling it "dangerous and unnecessary."
The panel believes the bill would turn disabled and terminally ill people into second class citizens.
The council said assisted dying was unnecessary because physical suffering can be adequately alleviated in all but the most rare cases.
Director of research Dr Callum MacKellar said: "When dying patients realize that they do not need to suffer, they often change their minds about euthanasia."
Under the bill, any doctor asked by a patient for drugs to kill himself would consult with a specialist beforehand and then must provide the patient’s records to a medical panel after the patient is dead.
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