Scots sound alarm on assisted suicide
Medical professionals warn against push to legalize the practice
While Scottish politicians consider legalizing assisted suicide, 175 of the country’s medical professionals have signed a letter to the country’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf in opposition to the proposed legislation. “The shift from preserving life to taking life is enormous and should not be minimized,” the letter reads.
Scottish Parliament Member Liam McArthur in June proposed legislation that would allow terminally ill Scottish residents to choose assisted suicide if they have lived in the country for at least a year, are mentally competent, and two doctors confirm that they qualify.
The Scottish Parliament voted against similar legislation in 2010 and 2015. But this year, Scottish political candidates received thousands of messages urging assisted suicide legalization before elections in early May. Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith voiced her support as well, citing her brother’s painful 2012 death from bone cancer. The debate over the procedure has recently resurfaced in the United Kingdom as well.
McArthur said his bill follows similar legislation that has gone through “rigorous testing” in other countries. But evidence suggests assisted suicide restrictions often loosen after legalization and don’t necessarily prevent abuse. In 2020, the Netherlands expanded euthanasia access to include children under 12. Belgium approved similar measures in 2014. Disability advocates also point to countries like Canada, which has already dropped some safeguards.
Scottish politician Pam Duncan-Glancy, who uses a wheelchair, expressed her concern. “I would far rather that disabled people have our right to live protected by the law and realized through practical assistance and support to lead an ordinary life, before we consider a right to die,” she told The Scotsman.
McArthur’s bill is up for discussion this fall.
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