In recent years there has been much debate about legalising assisted suicide in both the Scottish Parliament and the media. In December 2010, the Scottish Parliament rejected the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill which proposed to legalise both euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Bill was defeated by 85 votes to 16 with two abstentions. Following the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary election, another Bill was proposed to legalise just assisted suicide. In May 2015, the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill was defeated by 82 votes to 36 with no abstentions.
CARE for Scotland is firmly opposed to the legalisation of assisted suicide as we believe in the sanctity of human life and the need to protect vulnerable people from being pressurised to commit suicide. We argue passionately that rather than responding to difficulties at the end of life by helping people commit suicide – which would change the patient doctor relationship forever – our society should instead focus its energies on more investment in palliative care.
In responding to arguments for assisted suicide, moreover, it is important to understand that for many of those campaigning for assisted suicide their underlying purpose is not to address pain but rather to provide radical personal autonomy, allowing people to control the end of life process and to choose the timing of their own death.
We believe that any discussion about suffering, life and death must be framed in the context of faith in a sovereign God who is supremely in control, whose love and attention does not waver according to circumstances and whose ways are beyond our understanding.
Questions for Candidates
- Will you support or oppose the legalisation of assisted suicide in Scotland?
- Will you support the campaign to end the postcode lottery by increasing NHS resources in order to provide improved and consistent palliative care throughout Scotland?