Home Europe Scottish politicians in fresh push to legalize assisted dying

Scottish politicians in fresh push to legalize assisted dying

EDINBURGH — Lawmakers in Scotland have embarked on a third attempt to legalize a form of assisted dying, with hopes high for a political breakthrough.

The bill — submitted Monday — is backed by a cross-party group of Scottish Parliament members (MSPs). If passed, Scotland would become the first country in the U.K. and one of just a handful in Europe to legalize assisted death in certain situations.

The proposals would introduce the right to an assisted death for terminally ill and mentally competent adults only, who also need to live in Scotland. The public will be consulted on the plans in the fall before a parliamentary vote expected next year.

Previous efforts in Scotland were thwarted by parliamentary arithmetic. Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, who died in 2014 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, saw her assisted suicide bill defeated in parliament in 2010 and then again in 2015 following her passing.

There is hope among campaigners that cross-party backing for the bill could deliver a different result this time.

Among those who signed a letter registering support for the bill are MSPs from all of Scotland’s main parties, including former Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw. When Holyrood rejected assisted dying in 2015, Carlaw was the only Scottish Tory among the 36 who backed it — now, two other Tories have joined him on the list of 12 MSPs who have so far signed an open letter backing the new plans.

Liam McArthur, a Liberal Democrat who brought forward the proposals, told the BBC Sunday that when it came to winning a vote in parliament he was “confident this has strong cross-party support.”

“I fortunately don’t have direct experience of a close friend or family member who has gone through a bad death but I know plenty of people who do and I think that, increasingly, that lived experience is driving the public support for a change in the law in this area,” he said.

A Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times reflected some of this public support, showing that 72 percent of Scots asked backed the introduction of assisted dying. The pollster surveyed 1,001 adults.

Others are uneasy about the proposals, however. Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy said she was “deeply worried.”

“Disabled people do not yet enjoy our right to live equally,” Duncan-Glancy, who is herself disabled, said. “I’d far rather we had a right to live enshrined in law, long before we have a right to die. Until all things are equal, this is dangerous for disabled people.”

Assisted dying or suicide is currently legal in only a small number of European countries, including Switzerland where close to a hundred Brits are thought to travel annually for assistance with ending their lives. The withdrawing of life support under certain circumstances, known as passive euthanasia, is also legal in some nations including Germany.

Active euthanasia — involving a medical professional intentionally ending a life through use of lethal injection or similar — is legal in Belgium and Spain, the latter of which passed the law in March. In Portugal, a law legalizing euthanasia was passed by parliament earlier this year, before being blocked by the courts.

A bill similar to the one lodged in Holyrood on Monday was introduced into the U.K. House of Lords last month and faces a long parliamentary process before it becomes law. Attempts to change the law in Westminster — which would apply only to Wales and England — have failed up to now.

McArthur, who will be leading campaigning efforts on the bill in Scotland, said that currently “too many Scots are forced to endure a protracted, painful and undignified death” due to the blanket ban on assisted dying.

“They and their families deserve greater compassion, dignity and choice,” he said.

for(var key in aepc_pixel_args) args[key] = aepc_pixel_args[key];

return args; };

// Extend args if ( 'yes' === aepc_pixel.enable_advanced_events ) { aepc_pixel_args.userAgent = navigator.userAgent; aepc_pixel_args.language = navigator.language;

if ( document.referrer.indexOf( document.domain )

Source by [author_name]

NO COMMENTS

Exit mobile version