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Assisted Suicide

Editor (05/06/2009 16:18)

ONE of the most senior Church of Scotland ministers has condemned an effort by Labour peers to change the law on assisted suicide.

Rev Ian Galloway, Convenor of the Kirk’s Church and Society Council, stated it would be wrong for laws made to protect the most at risk from harm and exploitation to be abolished. The Council is particularly concerned about End of Life Issues and palliative care, which featured in its report to this year’s General Assembly.

Mr Galloway’s remarks follow from an amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill was tabled by Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, and Baroness Jay, former leader of the House of Lords and daughter of Labour Prime Minster James Callaghan.

Speaking today Mr Galloway said: “It is important to recognise that the dialogue within our society is much wider than being raised. Also, it is one thing for someone to open a door to a specific piece of law and it is another to prevent others building on that in ways we cannot welcome.

“There has to be the guarantee of protection to those who are most vulnerable and at risk in our society. The Church once again will reinforce the clear need to provide care and support for all, especially those vulnerable people.”

The tabled amendment states that a person will not be prosecuted if they enable or aid a terminally-ill patient bent on committing suicide go to another country where euthanasia is legal.

It is likely to be debated during the Committee Stage of the Bill in the Lord on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

The amendment was tabled after months of lobbying by Dignity in Dying, and organisation previously called the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

It coincides with the appeal by Debbie Purdy, a multiple sclerosis sufferer, to the Law Lords for a legal guarantee that her husband, Omar Puente, will not be prosecuted if she goes to Switzerland to commit suicide at the Dignitas euthanasia clinic.

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