The Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee, the lead committee considering the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill, will continue to accept evidence on the bill until June 6. You can download Care Not Killing's submission at the end of this page; our executive summary is reproduced below. We encourage you to consider responding.

Executive Summary

This Bill to legalise assisted suicide, following very shortly after one which was comprehensively rejected by Holyrood Parliamentarians, is as dangerous as its predecessor. It should be rejected because:

  • Loose and relativistic terms such as 'life-shortening condition' mean that tens of thousands of seriously ill and disabled people throughout Scotland would be eligible
  • Licensing doctors to kill would fundamentally alter the doctor-patient relationship
  • The Bill fails to define the 'means' of suicide
  • So-called safeguards are seriously defective with reporting and oversight provisions unenforceable even where they exist
  • There are no penalties for contravention
  • Doctors need not know or examine the patient
  • No assessment by a psychiatrist is required
  • Patients' beliefs about their illness/condition cannot be objectively confirmed by the doctor
  • The 'savings' clause protects all errors and omissions made 'in good faith'
  • There is no conscience clause for doctors, despite widespread medical opposition to assisted suicide

The Bill's so-called safeguards assume that those who will request assisted suicide will know their own minds beyond doubt. This is a false assumption. In today's individualistic society the pressures on sick, disabled and elderly people to avoid placing 'unfair burdens' on others are very great. Maintaining the law's protection of this silent and vulnerable majority is more important than giving choices to a minority of strong-minded and highly resolute people.

This Bill is flawed both in principle and in detail. Care Not Killing calls upon the Scottish Parliament to reject this Bill at the earliest opportunity.

You can access key information regarding the Bill's progress at the Scottish Parliament's website. From there, you can read the Bill (As Introduced), the Explanatory Notes, the Policy Memorandum and the Delegated Powers Memorandum.

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