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Scotland: campaign welcome government rejection of euthanasia law

The campaign group, Care Not Killing, is this morning welcoming the comprehensive rejection of the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill by the Scottish Parliamentary Committee set up to investigate the proposed legislation.

The six member Committee has been investigating the Bill for the past ten months and has identified many dangers contained within the proposal:
 
· The Bill stretches the notion of personal autonomy to the point where it significantly undermines the rights of others, particularly the vulnerable, as well as the wider good of society.
 
·  The Bill provides inadequate safeguards and could see vulnerable people pressurised, either by themselves or others, into seeking to take their lives.
 
· The Bill would apply not only to the terminally ill and, indeed, its scope is described as “extraordinarily wide”.

· The scope of the Bill would also legalise both physician-assisted suicide and physician administered euthanasia.

-  The Bill’s suggestion that voluntary euthanasia constitutes “death with dignity” is questioned particularly in the light of good palliative care.   

· The Bill could undermine the rights of disabled people to be provided with adequate resources so as to live independently.
 
· The Bill doesn’t provide a “conscience clause” for medics who wouldn’t wish to be involved in administering euthanasia.
 
· The Bill does not provide safeguards that those seeking to end their lives would undergo sufficient assessment beforehand.
 
Commenting on this morning’s report spokesman for Care Not Killing, Gordon MacDonald said: “This report could not be more emphatic in its rejection the End of Life Assistance Bill. It’s a real victory for the most vulnerable in our society. It’s hugely encouraging that the committee recognise that a key way of preserving dignity in the terminal stages of life lies in the quality of care available to, and respect afforded, to the dying.”
 
To read the report see: www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/endLifeAsstBill/reports-10/ela10-01-vol1.htm