Over 15,000 people have signed a petition calling for MSPs not to legalise assisted suicide, ahead of a Scottish Parliament vote next week.
The petition, started by campaign group Care Not Killing (CNK), was handed over to Holyrood’s deputy presiding officer Elaine Smith yesterday morning.
It states that changing the law would “redefine medicine” and put pressure on the elderly and vulnerable to submit to assisted suicide.
Unethical and uncontrollable
“We call upon MSPs of all parties to vote against legal change which is unnecessary, unethical and uncontrollable”, the petition also says.
On Wednesday, the Scottish Parliament is due to hold a Stage 1 vote on a Bill to allow people as young as 16 to get help to kill themselves.
Last month, the Health and Sport Committee said that there were “significant flaws” within the Bill, after hearing evidence from both sides of the argument.
It also pointed out that there is an “unacceptable” lack of clarity in some of the language in the legislation, and noted the observation by the British Medical Association that “there is no way to guarantee the absence of coercion in the context of assisted suicide”.
Dr Gordon Macdonald, spokesman for CNK, said: “It is clear that there is not an appetite in Scotland to change the law and make assisted suicide legal.
“And we hope that view is reflected in the way our MSPs cast their votes on a rare occasion when it is truly a matter of life and death”.
“The Scottish Parliament rejected proposals for assisted suicide and euthanasia just four years ago out of concern for public safety.
“The new Bill is even more dangerous as the need for psychiatric assessment has been dropped raising the prospect of depressed people being given assistance by doctors to commit suicide. Moreover, doctors could be compelled to do so as there is no provision for those with a conscientious objection, based on ethical principles or professional standards, to opt out”, he added.
He also highlighted that many of the so-called ‘safeguards’ in the Bill were previously rejected as unsafe when they appeared in the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill in 2010.
The CNK petition currently has 15,414 signatures.