Protect vulnerable and reject assisted suicide, MSPs urged

A new petition is urging MSPs to oppose assisted suicide because of concerns that vulnerable people could be pressured to kill themselves.

Care Not Killing, a group which promotes end-of-life care and opposes euthanasia, says a legal change is “unnecessary, unethical and uncontrollable”.

The comments come ahead of the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee taking evidence on an assisted suicide Bill next week.

Financial burden

Dr Gordon Macdonald, who speaks for Care Not Killing, said: “Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide would place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon others.

“This would especially affect people who are disabled, elderly, sick or depressed.”

He also warned that the “right to die will become a duty to die”.


The Scottish Parliament has previously rejected introducing assisted suicide – in 2010 it voted down Margo MacDonald’s Bill by 85 votes to 16.

The new Bill seeks to allow patients as young as 16 to end their lives, even if they are not terminally ill.

It is now being led by Green MSP Patrick Harvie, following the death of Margo MacDonald.


Commenting on the proposal, Gordon Macdonald said: “In every free democratic society, there are limits placed on human freedom in order to protect the common good and vulnerable people.

“The law must not be changed to accommodate the wishes of a small number of desperate and determined people at the expense of the rights of others.”

Harvie claimed opponents were distorting arguments behind the Bill and said: “I hope that MSPs will judge this bill on its own merits before reaching their decision”.

Broad nature

In June the Faculty of Advocates, a group of independent lawyers, raised concerns about the broad nature of the assisted suicide Bill.

The group commented: “Many conditions are life-shortening, including common conditions such as type II diabetes and hepatitis.

“The Faculty questions whether it is the intention of the proponents of the Bill that such common conditions should justify assisted suicide.”

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