promoting care, opposing euthanasia

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The Times, 2 November 2020

more: Letters, Scotland, Letters/Scotland, Opinion, Letters/Opinion

2nd November 2020

CNK's CEO writes following the publication of yet more opinion polling which fails to address the risks and failings of legalised assisted suicide and euthanasia, concluding: 'mendacious claims about safeguards and strict limits should be dismissed.'

The Times, 2 November 2020


Sir, The results of the assisted dying opinion poll published on Friday ("66 per cent want assisted dying bill", Oct 30) should be dismissed. It was based on a narrowly focused rights-based question that seemed designed to solicit support for change. More detailed polling, which asks about safeguards, pressure on the vulnerable and health inequalities, could produce very different results.

Scottish people know that changing the law means removing universal protections. This is why in Oregon — the model put forward by those wanting change — more than half cite fear of being a burden as a reason they are ending their lives. In Canada, which only changed its law in 2016, the requirement to be terminally ill has already been removed by a court in Quebec, while pro-assisted dying advocates have been highlighting the healthcare savings associated with hastening the death of thousands. In the Netherlands and Belgium, laws for terminally ill, mentally competent adults have been extended to people with psychiatric conditions, disabled people and even children.

This is why mendacious claims about safeguards and strict limits should be dismissed and present law maintained. What we really need in Scotland is proper funding for high-quality social and palliative care that caters for a patients' physical and psychological needs and supports their families.

Dr Gordon Macdonald
Chief executive, Care Not Killing, Glasgow

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