Legalising assisted suicide in Scotland would cross a ‘bright red moral line’

Church leaders in Scotland have warned MSPs that backing Liam McArthur’s Assisted Dying Bill would create a society where human lives could be graded according to their “usefulness”.

In a letter to all 129 MSPs, the United Free Church of Scotland’s Moderator Revd Andrew Downie and the Free Church of Scotland’s Moderator Revd Bob Akroyd warned that Scotland is “becoming an ethical wilderness” and it must not lose its “trust in the inherent value of all human life”.

Under McArthur’s Bill, tabled in Holyrood last month, end-of-life protections would be removed to allow vulnerable people to seek help from a doctor to kill themselves. In such cases, their death would be recorded as natural rather than suicide.


The church leaders said: “We believe, as indicated in the book of Genesis in the Bible, that everyone is created by God in his image – an image that reflects and expresses his equal love for everyone. As a result, every life has equal value – a value which can only be measured by the sufferings of Jesus Christ on the cross for humanity”.

They emphasised that for a “civilised society to survive, everyone should believe that everyone else is equally valuable” and the Scottish Parliament must grasp the ramifications of a law that suggests that “if a life does not reach a certain quality, then it loses its worth and can be ended”.

The church leaders said: “It would become a society where the value of all human life is actually unequal and purely relative. It would be a society where the worth of every human life could then be graded depending on its usefulness, meaningfulness, and the amount of pleasure it may experience.”

In contrast, the ministers emphasised that palliative care signals to society that the vulnerable still have “full worth and value”.


Earlier this month, Scotland’s former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed that she is increasingly unconvinced by arguments to legalise assisted suicide because of the impact on care for the vulnerable.

Writing in the Glasgow Times, the MSP for Glasgow Southside explained that while reconsidering the issue, she was surprised to find herself “veering away from a vote in favour” of Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur’s Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults Bill.

First Minister Humza Yousaf, along with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross, have all publicly opposed legislation to introduce assisted suicide in Scotland.

Also see:


Belgium: Insurance boss backs euthanasia for elderly to save money

Netherlands: Physically healthy young woman scheduled to die by euthanasia

Times readers slam columnist Parris for pressuring elderly and infirm to kill themselves

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