Assisted suicide is a form of euthanasia. Laws to legalise assisted suicide were defeated in Scotland and Westminster during 2015 but fresh attempts to remove end-of -life protections from the vulnerable reoccur regularly.
Currently in Scotland, Liam McArthur MSP is promoting his plan to legalise assisted suicide. A public consultation is underway. Once complete, it will be considered by MSPs. The proposal has already sparked fierce opposition from politicians, medical experts, commentators and religious groups.
Baroness Meacher’s similar pro-assisted suicide Bill is at Committee Stage in the House of Lords. Over sixty Peers spoke against it when it was debated in October 2021.
Later that month, Dr Joel Zivot, Associate Professor of Anaesthesiology and Surgery at the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia spoke to the Institute debunking the claim that assisted suicide is a peaceful death. His evidence is based on his own review of autopsy reports from executions in the United States.
Politicians in Jersey have voted to advance plans to legalise assisted suicide on the island.
In May, 2015 MSPs voted comprehensively against the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill by 82 votes to 36. The Bill sought to allow people as young as 16 to get help to kill themselves.
Those voting against the Bill included First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour Kezia Dugdale and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.
Then in September 2015 at Westminster, MPs voted 330 to 118 against Rob Marris’ Private Members’ Bill.
The result came following pressure from disabled rights groups, the medical profession, a number of charities and religious leaders.
Serious concerns had been raised that legalising assisted suicide would pressurise the sick, elderly and vulnerable into ending their lives for fear of being a burden. Many pointed to the incremental extension of the practice in Europe, and the absence of genuine safeguards.