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‘Assisted dying’ cannot be made safe

‘Assisted dying’ cannot be made safe and must therefore be rejected by MSPs, campaigners have said.

A bill from Liam McArthur MSP, due to be published today, would enable doctors to prescribe terminally ill patients with lethal drugs.

Dr Miro Griffiths, spokesman for Better Way, a group of experts who oppose a change in the law in Scotland, commented:

“It is deeply sad to see new assisted suicide legislation before the Scottish Parliament. This practice has been debated at length and rejected at both Holyrood and Westminster because of overwhelming evidence of its dangers. Nothing has changed since past debates. ‘Assisted dying’ cannot be made ‘safe’. Its introduction overseas has led to awful injustices, and mission creep.

“This legislation raises the spectre of vulnerable people choosing to die because of overt or covert pressure. Coercion is a huge danger, and Scots grappling with social isolation, poverty, healthcare inequality and a host of other issues will feel pressure to opt for an ‘assisted death’ due to an unjust lack of support. No amount of legal drafting could avoid this injustice.

“There’s also the threat of expansion. In Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands, previously narrow laws have become permissive. In US States, safeguards have been eroded. In Australia and New Zealand, rules are being challenged. If ‘assisted dying’ becomes a ‘right’ in Scotland, activists will claim that limiting access is discrimination and mount legal challenges.

“The only sure way to avoid abuses and future expansion is to keep the door to ‘assisted dying’ closed. There’s a better way forward for Scotland, involving largescale investment in end-of-life care, greater suicide prevention, and better affirmation and inclusion of marginalised communities. We urge MSPs to choose this path.”


Notes for editors

Better Way opposes assisted suicide, sets out an alternative vision, and provides a platform for marginalised voices. The campaign is supported by experts in several fields including medicine, disability advocacy, and sociology. Our allies are available for interview upon request.

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