Christian Life 

Assisted suicide and euthanasia: are you concerned?

The Scottish Parliament Committee's consideration of Margo Macdonald MSP' End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill is due to end on 12 May. Bill Baird of CARE Scotland is urging individuals and organisations to write while there is still time.

Margo MacdonaldThe 12th May draws very near. It is the final date for submission of written evidence to the Scottish Parliament Committee considering Margo Macdonald MSP’s End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill. The Bill would legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia in Scotland.

Bill Baird, manager of CARE for Scotland, is urgently requesting that those who are concerned about the implications of this bill for the ill, the elderly and the disabled to write to the Committee and express their views while there is still time.

Bill writes:

The ELA Bill Committee has invited evidence from organisations and individuals. You do not need to have specialist knowledge to write to the Committee. If you personally feel concern and unease about the impact this Bill would have on Scottish society, we would urge you to express your feelings and opinions to the Committee.

Even if you responded to Margo’s consultation last year you still need to write to the ELA Bill Committee.

Even if you have returned a Care Not Killing postcard to go to your MSP you still need to write to the Committee.

The ELA Bill Committee will present a report to the Parliament for debate and the nature of the evidence they receive will influence the report they present.

Supporters of assisted suicide are well organised and dedicated, and will without doubt be bombarding the Committee with their evidence. Please let us not allow this Bill to succeed because Christians have failed to respond.

We would urge you to:

  • Write or e-mail before 12th May
  • Encourage others to write – both organisations and individuals
  • Include any personal experience you have
  • If you are a health professional do say how the Bill would have an impact on you

Thank you for standing with us on this vital issue.

Yours sincerely

Bill Baird

William W Baird
Manager, CARE for Scotland

Why the End of Life Assistance Bill needs to be opposed:

  • If society accepts assisted suicide or euthanasia it means that some lives no longer have any meaning, value or worth.
  • The scope of the Bill is unbelievably wide. It would offer assisted suicide to people who are to some degree dependent on others. This could include those with non-threatening disabilities and those with relatively common conditions who have a degree of dependency on others. Vulnerable and old people would be especially at risk.
  • The wording in the Bill is vague. For example there is no definition of what it is to find life 'intolerable' and the methods by which life would be terminated are not identified.
  • The safeguards contained in the Bill are illusory and seriously defective.
  • The Bill is intended to 'enable a person to die with dignity and a minimum of distress'. This is already provided through good health care and particularly palliative medicine.
  • The will of both the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments has been clearly expressed as opposed to assisted suicide in recent years when this issue has been debated on several occasions.
  • The professional medical bodies and the British Medical Association do not support assisted suicide.
  • Evidence from the Netherlands and the US state of Oregon - where assisted suicide is legal - shows that it is impossible to prevent abuses from occurring.
  • The Bill places responsibility for providing "end of life assistance" on the shoulders of Scottish doctors, for whom it contains no 'conscience clause' and the majority of whom would not be prepared to participate in implementing the proposals of the Bill.

Personal stories are particularly powerful. If you have positive experience of caring for a loved one with a terminal or chronic illness, or indeed have had such a condition yourself, you may wish to share your experience with the committee.

See article by Stephen Hutchison, the Medical Director of  the Highland Hospice

How to communicate with the ELA Bill Committee

By letter to: The End of Life Assistance Bill Committee, T3.60, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP

By email to: (Microsoft Word format preferred).The subject of your e-mail should read 'Submission on the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill'.

For more information on how the Bill is being dealt with by the Committee visit the CARE for Scotland web site and also <click here> for the relevant section on the Scottish Parliament's web site.

Background information and comments from individuals and Christian organisations can also be obtained from the Christian Institute.

Bill Baird: CARE for Scotland, 21/04/2010

NOTICE: - The 'Response' facility on most articles is restricted to CT site members. Site members should login here. Comments/questions from non-site members should be sent to the Editor by e-mail.

Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Christians and Politics > Assisted suicide and euthanasia: are you concerned?