Scotland MSPs Making Biggest Push Ever to Legalize Assisted Suicide

International   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Dec 31, 2014   |   3:58PM   |   Glasgow, Scotland

In April, Margo Macdonald MSP passed away from Parkinson’s disease after introducing the “Assisted Suicide Bill” in Scotland; and now the Scottish Parliament is claiming that it is their most “robust” piece of assisted suicide legislation. According to the Parliament’s official website, the bill will “enable people with terminal or life, shortening illnesses or progressive conditions which are terminal or life-shortening and who wish to end their own lives to obtain assistance in doing so by removing criminal and liability from those who provide such aid.”

picassistedsuicide14Patrick Harvie MSP, who took charge of the legislation after Macdonald passed, said, “The Scottish Parliament has seen years of debate on Assisted Suicide, and the Bill currently before the Scottish Parliament has taken account of the many arguments on both sides. It aims to present the most robust proposal yet, and has support from MSPs of all parties. The principle is also backed by a majority of the Scottish public in opinion polls.”

Harvie also said he is happy to help steer the legislation through the Scottish Parliament. He told Sputnik news, “I look forward to the Health Committee starting to take evidence on the bill in the coming weeks. Providing people with terminal or life shortening illnesses a safe supported option for taking control of the end of their own life would demonstrate compassion and respect for each person’s own choice, and I hope MSPs will give the Bill their support”

Currently, assisted suicide is illegal in Scotland but if this legislation passes doctors could prescribe fatal doses of drugs for patients who wish to commit suicide and are believed to have no more than six months to live. The Daily Telegraph published an article about the legislation with signatures from dignitaries like the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey and the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer. The said, “We are closer than ever to allowing dying people to have safeguarded choice in how they approach their deaths. Whoever forms the next Government must allow time for Parliament to reach consensus on a safeguarded law.”

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However, Sputnik news reports that there are people who adamantly oppose the legislation. In February, the Royal College of General Practitioners revealed that 77% of GPs are against legalizing euthanasia.

Additionally, LifeNews previously reported that many disability and medical groups are against assisted suicide and euthanasia legislation in the United Kingdom because they believe it will lead to increased prejudice toward disabled people and place pressure on doctors to end lives. In fact, in 2013, the British Medical Association (BMA) stated that they opposed the euthanasia bill sponsored by MSP Margo MacDonald. The Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Association for Palliative Medicine and the British Geriatric Society stands opposed to assisted suicide as well.