Scottish assisted dying legislation change now at ‘tipping level’ in Holyrood


The prospect of Scottish euthanasia laws being introduced at Holyrood is at a “turning point,” according to an MSP pushing for change.

Sunday, January 3, 2021, 7:00 a.m.

Updated at 8:57 a.m. on Sunday, January 3, 2021“/>Mandatory Credit: Photo by Roland Hoskins / ANL / Shutterstock (10285254a) Supreme Court disability activists are creating a “huge graveyard” outside the royal courts to highlight the threat of a legal challenge being heard by the appeals court. The visual display, developed by the disability group “The Distant Voices”, will appear in court shortly before Noel Conway’s Pro Assisted Dying Legal Challenge and will be supported by an outside protest. Pictured supporters of Noel Conway. Disability rights activists before the Supreme Court are creating a “huge graveyard” outside the royal courts to highlight the threat of a legal challenge being heard by the appeals court. The visual display pioneered by Disability Group ‘the Distant

Liberal Democrat Alex Cole-Hamilton said he believes the election of just “a few” progressive MSPs in the Holyrood election next May will likely secure majority voting for change.

However, the Edinburgh Western MSP has called for “sensitivity and understanding” on this issue.

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Activists have said that a new attempt to change the law will likely be made at some point in the next parliament, with the majority of public support changing.

“/> Margo MacDonald launched the first assisted suicide introduction

But opponents have fought and say there may be vulnerable Scots who are being pressured to end their lives “prematurely”.

Two previous attempts to implement the measure were rejected by the MSP – although support more than doubled the second time.

Mr Cole-Hamilton, who sits in a bipartisan group on end-of-life decisions in Holyrood, said the prospect of change would depend on the composition of the next parliament in 2021.

“A lot of this is about silent discussions between MSPs to educate people about this very personal issue,” he said.

“We wouldn’t want to bill if we weren’t sure we had the numbers.

“But every successive parliament has seen a shift in that direction, to the point where we are at the top of the majority. We just need a few like-minded progressive MSPs to join our ranks.”

“This is a dignity that we should bestow upon Scots at the end of their lives.”

The change comes after New Zealand became the youngest country to promote assisted death after two-thirds voted for a change in an October referendum in the country. The Irish Parliament is currently passing legislation introducing the measure.

Terminally ill Scots have traveled to the Swiss clinic Dignitas in recent years to end their own lives.

A recent UK medical survey also suggests a shift in medical opposition.

However, the Scottish Parliament has already rejected two attempts to introduce assisted dying. The first proposal, initiated by the late Margo MacDonald, was rejected by 82-16 in 2010. Although another crucial defeat followed in 2015, the 82-36 vote meant a doubling of support among the MSPs.

“We know the direction of travel here because since our last debate in Scotland we have seen a number of different countries adopting such policies, and in each case the concerns of those who opposed change have been unfounded.” Mr Cole-Hamilton said.

“We also know from detailed surveys that dying and the right to a good death have overwhelming public support.”

He added, “This is the kind of legislation, given the strong personal convictions of the people, that needs to be given an appeal to both sides of the argument.

“But I think we have faith in the side that supports proponents of dying that we already have the public with us, and it’s just a matter of treating those who oppose it with sensitivity and understanding and reflecting on their concerns to make the change in the law robust. ” as possible.”

MSPs have previously considered a self-managed assisted dying system for terminally ill Scots, although a designated “friend at the end” could help. A cocktail of drugs would be provided by pharmacists to make this possible.

A major obstacle was opposition among doctors, but a recent British Medical Association (BMA) vote indicated a shift in opposition from the organization, with 61 percent being either supportive (40 percent) or neutral (21 percent) for self-government End of life medication.

However, the prospect of new legislation is likely to meet strong opposition from religious leaders and representatives of the disabled and the elderly, who fear that it will put pressure on more vulnerable adults to end their lives.

Gordon MacDonald, Managing Director of Care Not Killing, said: “The abandonment of statutory protection would be at a time when we have already seen the elderly being abandoned and unprecedented pressures during the Covid-19 pandemic to extremely controversial was applied to health and social care. “

He added: “Current laws in Scotland protect the most vulnerable in our society, the elderly, the sick and the disabled, from pressures to end their lives.

“There are few places in the world that allow assisted suicide or euthanasia.”

Opponents say that in Oregon, six in ten (59 percent) of those who ended their lives last year said they fear “being a burden to their families, friends and caregivers,” and an additional 7.4 percent said they were afraid financial worries as reasons for looking after death.

Dr. MacDonald also pointed to a large study that found that a doctor’s legalization of suicide was linked to a significant increase in suicide rates after checking for all other factors, especially those over 65.

“When MSPs of all parties look at these facts, they quickly realize that tearing up existing laws is not progressive, and they realize the dangers that legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia would bring,” he said.

“At a time when we’ve seen how fragile our NHS is, how underfunding is putting pressure on services and up to one in four Scots who would benefit if they weren’t given adequate palliative care to drive this ideological policy, this doesn’t seem to be in contact. ” , dangerous and desperate. “

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