Dignity in Dying Scotland has welcomed the plans, however an MSP has lodged fears on implications for people with disabilities
Plans for assisted dying legislation in Scotland will be brought to the Scottish Parliament today (Monday 21 June).
Liam McArthur - MSP for Orkney - will lodge proposals in the Scottish Parliament for a new Members Bill which seeks to change the law on assisted dying in Scotland.
The bill would legalise assisted dying as a choice for terminally ill, mentally competent adults, a change supported by 87% of the Scottish public. It will be the first time the parliament has considered the issue since 2015. Recent polling has shown that 86% of Scots want the Scottish Parliament to examine the issue and 75% want this done within two years.
Responding to the lodging of the Assisted Dying Scotland Bill proposal, Ally Thomson, director of Dignity in Dying Scotland said: “This represents a watershed moment for dying Scots. Momentum on changing the law to allow our dying citizens the right to a peaceful assisted death has been building and it is clear that the current blanket ban is unjust and unsustainable. Given the majority of Scots support the proposals and want the Parliament to take swift action this is clearly the right bill at the right time. So many families across Scotland have spoke out about the injustice of the current law and the suffering it permits. It is right that their voices have been heard.
"There is rigorous research and robust evidence from across the world to show that legalising assisted dying is the compassionate and safe thing to do. I am delighted to welcome the introduction of the bill and urge MSPs to listen to the people of Scotland, examine the evidence before them and back this bill."
However the plans have drawn criticism from one MSP, who has said they will be dangerous for disabled people.
Glasgow MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy tweeted her opposition to the plans: “I am deeply worried about this. Disabled people do not yet enjoy our right to live equally. I’d far rather we had a right to live enshrined in law, long before we have a right to die. Until all things are equal, this is dangerous for disabled people.”
She continued: “We need to make sure living is better for disabled people than death. That means properly funded care, accessible housing, equal access to health care and jobs and so on. My fear is that, bluntly, all of that costs more and the government haven’t committed nearly enough money to it.”
McArthur said: “I have long believed that dying Scots should be able to access safe and compassionate assisted dying if they choose, rather than endure a prolonged and painful death.
“The current blanket ban on such assistance is unjust and causes needless suffering for so many dying people and their families across Scotland.
“If you have reached the limits of palliative care and face a bad death, none of the current options available to you in Scotland represents an acceptable alternative to a peaceful, dignified death at home.”
Holyrood previously rejected bids to introduce assisted dying in 2010 and 2015.