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Children’s charities hit out at false right-to-die claim

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Charities deny they called for children to be included assisted suicide bill

An alliance of children’s charities has rejected reports it is campaigning to include children in right-to-die legislation.

It was widely reported that the Together Alliance which includes some of Scotland’s leading children’s charities, and Save the Children Scotland had called for the assisted suicide (Scotland) bill to include terminally-ill children.

However, the alliance said they had made no such call and had in fact taken no position on the issue.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, chair of the Together Alliance, said: “Our response to the bill stated that the rights of children should be taken into account – just as they should be when other matters affecting their health and well-being are considered.

Save the Children and the Together Alliance have been misrepresented and our name has been used inappropriately

“This is extremely important considering the proposed legislation could impact on children who have relatives and carers with terminal illnesses or on children and young people who are terminally ill.”

The assisted suicide bill put forward by the late Margo MacDonald MSP applies only to those over 16.

But press reports claimed the organisation made the call to include children in its submission to Holyrood’s health and sport committee’s consultation on the bill – a move which the anti-euthanasia group Care Not Killing called “monstrous”.

Neil Mathers, head of Save the children Scotland, said: “Save the Children and the Together Alliance have been misrepresented and our name has been used inappropriately.

“We do not take a position on assisted suicide and have never endorsed either side of the argument.”

After MacDonald’s death earlier in the year, Green co-convener Patrick Harvie pledged to take the bill forward, with the support of Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw, Labour MSP Mary Fee and SNP MSP Bill Kidd.