We the undersigned oppose the legalisation of assisted suicide as proposed in the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.
Persistent requests for assisted suicide are extremely rare when people's physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs are met. Major medical bodies including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Association for Palliative Medicine oppose a change in the law which would redefine medicine, and we must instead continue to prioritise the development of Britain's world-leading palliative care, driving up standards and widening provision.
The evidence from countries where assisted suicide and/or euthanasia are permitted clearly demonstrates that such laws legalise a principle as well as a practice, leading to extensions and abuses of the law which go unchallenged, as seen this year in Belgium. It is wrong to put vulnerable people, especially those who are disabled, elderly, sick or isolated, in a position where they feel that their own self-worth is diminished, that they are a burden on others and that there is pressure on them to take 'the sensible option'.
The present law making assisted suicide illegal is clear and right and does not need changing. The penalties it holds in reserve act as a strong deterrent to exploitation and abuse whilst giving prosecutorial discretion in hard cases.
We call upon MSPs of all parties to vote against legal change which is unnecessary, unethical and uncontrollable.