#Human Rights
Members of The Scottish Parliament

The End of Life Assistance Bill was introduced by Margo MacDonald, and you can read about it here

The Humanist Society of Scotland believes the Bill gives individuals the important right to determine the timing of their own death, while providing robust protection against abuse. We want the committee scrutinising Margo's Bill to be aware that it enjoys wide popular support.

The Society submitted the following evidence to the Committee.

1. We do agree that a person should be able to request end of life assistance from a registered medical practitioner, under strictly controlled circumstances.

2. We are satisfied with the requirements for age and connection with Scotland as set out in the Bill.

3. We are satisfied with two categories of people who would qualify to be assisted under the terms of the Bill.

4. We do have reservations with regard to the “several stage consent and verification process” as set out in the Bill.

5. We do consider the level and nature of the safeguards as set out in the Bill to be appropriate and adequate.

6. Yes – we do have other considerations not included in the above answers.

The need to protect the weak and the vulnerable is taken as an absolute. It must be demonstrated that the request for assistance is the settled will of the ‘requesting person’. Within that framework there is a need to allow for a speedier process where circumstances show that to be appropriate. For instance, a patient nearing the end of life and suffering intolerable pain from cancer, in circumstances that had not been anticipated, might seek an early resolution.

At the other end of the scale someone with a slow progressive degenerative condition such as Motor Neuron Disease may find comfort in starting the process early, whilst they still can, but find that they have not needed to implement the remedy by when it is ‘time lapsed’. The Bill would be improved if these concerns were addressed.

We the undersigned call on Members of the Scottish Parliament to support the End of Life Assistance Bill.

We want to see this Bill passed into law because it provides a choice for those people who seek to end their lives with dignity and with the protection of the law.

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The Support End of Life Assistance Bill in Scottish Parliament petition to Members of The Scottish Parliament was written by John Bishop and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.