Scottish assisted suicide rhetoric is nonsense

This article was published on January 28 on the HOPE Australia website.

By Paul Russell - Director of Hope Australia

Paul Russell

Paul Russell

An assisted suicide bill is slowly making its way through various committees of the Scottish parliament before ultimately being debated in the Scottish Parliament itself.

This bill is something of a ‘legacy bill’ following as it does the death last April of the former champion of this cause, Margo MacDonald MSP who had sponsored an earlier, failed attempt.

It is certainly worth a hat-tip to the Scots inasmuch as both MacDonald’s bill and this new bill by Green MSP Patrick Harvie take some radically different approaches to the issue, presumably to attempt to make these efforts more palatable than other failed initiatives. However, the same concerns arise as with all legislation on euthanasia or assisted suicide: vulnerable people are not protected; the legislation is unsafe and open to abuse.

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Experts say: Scotland's assisted suicide bill will undermine suicide prevention efforts

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Herald newspaper in Scotland is reporting that experts are warning that the assisted suicide bill that is being debated in the Scottish parliament would undermine efforts to prevent suicide.

The Herald reported that:

A law that would legalise assisted suicide is facing growing opposition, as academics and ethicists raised fresh concerns that it would lead to the elderly being put under pressure to kill themselves. 
Figures within the medical profession have also raised new concerns that if the Bill currently making its way through Holyrood passes, it would undermine efforts to reduce suicides generally and open the door to euthanasia.

The article continued by quoting from the experts who submissions to the Scottish Health Committee on the assisted dying bill.

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Assisted suicide makes a mockery of us as guardians of justice and compassion

The Herald Newspaper in Scotland published this commentary on January 13, 2015.

In the debate on assisted suicide, we are all ultimately on the same side: we all want to limit suffering.

Compassion motivates all those who are genuinely interested in the debate. There is all the difference, however, between limiting suffering and ending life.

Committed supporters of assisted suicide have to as ask themselves two fundamental questions. First, how much risk to the vulnerable are they prepared to accept in order to facilitate suicide by the invulnerable? Secondly, where to draw the line in determining what suffering "qualifies" for assisted suicide?

No safeguard can ever be 100 per cent effective. As well as the clear abuses, there would also be the inevitable subtle pressures on those whose illness or condition met the criteria. On a recent BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in, Michael, who has motor neurone disease, explained how he is asked several times a week whether he would consider assisted suicide.

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