Legislating for assisted suicide would endanger the most marginalised in society, Better Way has warned.
A bill to allow adults diagnosed with a terminal illness to obtain lethal drugs is expected at Holyrood in the coming months.
Dr Miro Griffiths, an expert advisor on disability policy and spokesman for the Better Way campaign, commented:
“When you analyse the evidence on assisted suicide, it shows that there are profound and unavoidable dangers for both individuals and society at large. In other jurisdictions, safeguards have failed and been eroded over time. There is no guarantee this would not happen in Scotland.
“In countries such as Canada, we see cases of coercion and abuse, discrimination against disabled people, and even people feeling forced to opt for assisted death because care is too expensive. Opening the door to this practice in Scotland risks similar outcomes, affecting the most marginalised.”
Dr Griffiths added:
“It is right to feel empathy for people who are suffering at the end of life, and who may wish to end their lives. Ensuring access to high quality palliative care is the right response. Giving vulnerable people an experimental cocktail of drugs to cause death in a period of hours or days is not.
“We have a better vision for Scotland. A vision involving high quality palliative care for all, increased action on suicide prevention, and greater work to eliminate discrimination and stigma. These goals are only attainable if the door to assisted suicide remains firmly shut.”
Notes for editors
Better Way opposes assisted suicide and sets out an alternative vision, whilst providing a platform for marginalised voices. The campaign is supported by experts in several fields including medicine, disability advocacy, and sociology.