Scottish First Minister: ‘We should support people to live’

The Scottish First Minister has voiced opposition to an assisted suicide Bill being brought forward in Holyrood.

Nicola Sturgeon said she is not convinced by the legislation and expressed support for palliative care.

Her opposition to assisted suicide mirrors that of Jim Murphy, the recently elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party.


Speaking to the Scottish Catholic Observer, Sturgeon said she voted against assisted suicide on a previous occasion and has not been “convinced about assisted suicide this time”.

She said: “I believe we should support people to live and I am therefore in favour of good quality palliative care.

“There also remains a major stumbling block to assisted suicide: How could you have sufficient safeguards?”

Welcome declaration

Her comments were welcomed by other opponents of assisted suicide, including campaign group Care Not Killing.

Dr Gordon Macdonald, spokesman for the group, said: “This is a very welcome declaration from Scotland’s First Minister who rightly highlights the dangers of assisted suicide and correctly points out how difficult it would be to protect the most vulnerable, were the law to be changed.

“As MSPs examine these proposals more closely, increasing numbers are coming to the conclusion that they are unworkable and ill conceived.”

Other opposition

In January, Jim Murphy expressed his opposition to assisted suicide, saying proposed legislation would open up “all sorts of possible situations to abuse”.

Mr Murphy said: “People have the right to die with dignity, but not to have their lives deliberately shortened”.

Murphy, a former cabinet minister at Westminster, urged that people instead needed help to care for and comfort loved ones at the end of their lives.


More than 10,000 people have already signed a petition against the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.

The petition is organised by Care Not Killing, an umbrella organisation of individuals and groups that opposes assisted suicide and supports better end-of-life care.

Dr Gordon Macdonald said petition numbers are growing as people become more aware of the details of the legislation.

Holyrood’s Health and Sport Committee is expected to produce a report on the assisted suicide Bill after hearing evidence from campaign groups, academics, health care professionals, ethicists and faith leaders.