Assisted suicide debate intensifies in Scotland

Xavier Symons
24 October 2014
Reproduced with Permission

British Anti-euthanasia group Care Not Killing (CNK) has launched a major online campaign intended to derail a new assisted-suicide (AS) bill being debated in the Scottish parliament.

The proposed legislation , due to be discussed by the parliamentary justice committee next Tuesday, would make assisted suicide legal for people as young as 16 who suffering from "a terminal or life shortening illness".

The bill was originally moved by Margo MacDonald, an MSP who died in April following a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

CNK's online petition labels the proposed changes "unnecessary, unethical and uncontrollable". Extant penalties, the petition states, "act as a strong deterrent to exploitation and abuse whilst giving prosecutorial discretion in hard cases."

CNK spokesperson Dr Gordon MacDonald said that a change to the law would "place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon others."

Earlier in the year influential Scottish journalist Kevin McKenna wrote a scathing critique of the bill , criticising the "twisted morality" and "bizarre…deathly obsession" that underpinned it.

Patrick Harvie MSP, and ardent supporter of the bill, accused CNK of providing a distorted picture of proposed changes: "I hope that MSPs will judge this bill on its own merits before reaching their decision."