MSPs from the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Scottish National Parties come together to reject assisted suicide as a response to the needs of the people of Scotland
'We find ourselves at odds with our MSP colleagues who wrote "Our turn to be brave — to support those who suffer" (Letters, last week) in support of a new assisted suicide law.
'Have we really become a society that says the best answer we can provide to those suffering in end-of-life situations is to help them kill themselves? Is that really all we can offer?
'That, to us, is the measure of a desperately cold, soulless society. We think that in Scotland today we are better than that.
'This issue poses serious questions for all of us. What sort of people are we? What sort of society do we want to be? What would such a law tell us about our nation? There's a view it should be up to the individual alone to decide not just how to live, but how to die, and that this should be enshrined in law. The idea may be superficially attractive, but even for those with a liberal outlook, it is self-evidently obvious that taking a life will not only have an impact on one individual, it affects others, too.
'We regard suicide as a cause for grief. The Scottish government has a suicide prevention strategy, and for good reason. Suicide can have a devastating effect on those left behind, and only those who have experienced the loss of somebody close in this way can imagine the pain suffered. For the state to say that suicide is to be assisted in certain circumstances means we are in danger of sending out mixed messages. Society should be preventing suicide, not assisting it.
'It has been said that legalising assisted suicide means the whole of society, and not only the person wanting to die, is accepting that a person has lost all value, worth and meaning in life. We believe that this would have a damaging effect on society, and dangerously undermine the legal protection established in the concept of equal and inherent human dignity.'
Jeremy Balfour MSP, Neil Bibby MSP, Donald Cameron MSP, Murdo Fraser MSP, Mark Griffin MSP, Gordon Lindhurst MSP, John Mason MSP, Mike Rumbles MSP, Elaine Smith MSP