Saturday, May 30, 2015

Scotland says No to assisted suicide

The Scottish Parliament has again rejected a bill - by 82 votes to 36 - which would have allowed people with a terminal illness to seek help to end their lives.

Had the bill succeeded, Scotland would have been the first part of the UK to legalise assisted suicide.

The bill was originally brought forward by the late Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, who died last year. It was taken up by Green MSP Patrick Harvie.

It would have allowed assisted suicide for mentally competent adults from 16 years old with "a terminal or life-shortening illness" or a "progressive and terminal or life-shortening condition" who had "concluded that the quality of their life is unacceptable."

A Holyrood committee concluded that the bill contained "significant flaws," but said the full parliament should decide. The Scottish Government did not support the bill. MSPs had a free vote.

Gordon Macdonald, convenor of Care Not Killing in Scotland, commented: "Vulnerable people who are sick, elderly or disabled can so easily feel pressure, whether real or imagined, to end their lives so as not to be a burden on others. Parliament's first responsibility is to protect the vulnerable. That is what has happened."