Scotland's Bill to Legalise Assisted Suicide May be Short Lived
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Scotland's Bill to Legalise Assisted Suicide May be Short Lived

Healthcare professionals must care, not kill
 
It is being reported that the Scottish Government's Health and Sport Committee, which will meet next week to discuss the proposed Assisted Suicide Bill, is likely to reject the proposals initially put forward by the late Margo MacDonald.
 
Proponents have suggested that most of those invited to consult on the bill are against assisted suicide which will ensure any plans to introduce assisted dying in Scotland are doomed to failure at a very early stage.
 
This may, of course, be down to the fact that most medical professionals are against such a move, and for very good reason.   It is the task of the medical profession to care for people and bring them back to health.  If that is not possible then it is a basic human right for all people that the state ensure they are cared for in the best way possible with the intention of alleviating any pain and suffering as far as possible.  It is not the task of doctors and nurses to simply dispense with this basic tenet of their profession and secure the death of patients.
 
Should the legislation come to pass, people with disabilities and the elderly will suddenly be at risk as the reality of state sanctioned killing comes to Scotland. 
 
And let us not forget sick children.  Even the state is content to allow for their death in western civilisations such as Belgium.  It is inevitable that assisted suicide for children will eventually come to Scotland should this bill be passed.
 
It is no secret that states which have introduced assisted suicide have experienced significant increases in death rates.  Consider the state of Oregon in the United States where a 450% increase in deaths has followed since the introduction of assisted suicide in 1997.  That's a 450% increase in death!  A similar increase has been experienced in the Netherlands in recent years.
 
Care Not Killing, an organisation which is directly opposed to the new bill has outlined the following concerns with assisted suicide:
 
  • 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.
  •  
  • The pressure people will feel to end their lives if assisted suicide or euthanasia is legalised will be greatly accentuated at this time of economic recession with families and health budgets under pressure. Elder abuse and neglect by families, carers and institutions is real and dangerous and this is why strong laws are necessary.
  •  
  • If assisted suicide or euthanasia is legalised any 'safeguards' against abuse, such as limiting it to certain categories of people, are unlikely to work. Instead, once any so-called 'right-to-die' is established we will see incremental extension with pressure being applied to expand the categories of people who qualify for it.
  •  
  • The vast majority of UK doctors are opposed to legalising euthanasia along with the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Association for Palliative Medicine and the British Geriatric Society.
  •  
  • Major disability rights groups in Britain (including SCOPE, UKDPC and Not Dead Yet UK) oppose any change in the law believing it will lead to increased prejudice towards them and increased pressure on them to end their lives.
  •  
    Dr Peter Saunders, Campaign Director of Care Not Killing, has said: "The right to die can so easily become the duty to die and vulnerable people who are sick, elderly or disabled will inevitably feel pressure, whether real or imagined, to end their lives so as not to be a burden on others. Ms MacDonald's new proposals are effectively her old ones dished up again. I expect the Scottish Parliament to give them short shrift."
     
    Let's hope Dr Saunders is right and that this bill is short lived.
     
    Remember, it is not too late to sign the Care Not Killing petition and to inform your MSP of your opposition to this bill.  You can do so now by clicking here: http://www.carenotkilling.org.uk/scotland/petition/
     
     

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