Monday, January 5, 2015

Scotland may kill assisted suicide bill in committee.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Edinburgh News is reporting that the Scottish assisted suicide bill may die in the Health and Sport committee. The hearings will begin on January 13.

The group - Doctors for assisted suicide are concerned that too many groups opposing assisted suicide have been invited to present to the government committee. The Edinburgh News reported that: 

Duncan McNeil MSP, the convener of the health and sport committee, said it would consider all evidence placed before it and give it equal weight.
When reading Scotland's assisted suicide bill it is clear that the language of the bill will kill.

Section 1 of the bill says:

It is not a crime (of any kind) to assist a person to commit suicide.
This means that anyone can do it.

Section 8 of the bill defines the rules for requesting assisted suicide. Subsection 3 states that the person must be registered as a patient in Scotland, be at least 16 years old, signed a preliminary declaration and:
(d) has, after reflecting on the consequences for the person of the considerations set out in subsection (4) and in the light of that reflection, concluded that the quality of the person’s life is unacceptable
Subsection 5 states:
(a) an illness that is, for the person, either terminal or life-shortening, or
(b) a condition that is, for the person, progressive and either terminal or life-shortening.
It is not limited to terminal conditions, but rather life-shortening conditions. There are many life-shortening conditions that are not terminal. This is a very wide condition that focuses on assisted suicide for people with disabilities or chronic conditions.

The language of the bill was based on Margo MacDonald, who was living with Parkinson's and who wanted to die by assisted suicide. The language focuses on enabling people with non-terminal conditions dying by assisted suicide. MacDonald died last year.

Not Dead Yet UK spokesperson, Kevin Fitzpatrick wrote, in response to these sections of the bill that - The Scotland assisted suicide bill discriminates against people with disabilities.
Section 19 of the bill concerns General functions of licensed facilitators
A licensed facilitator is to use best endeavours —
(a) to provide, before, during and after the act of suicide (or attempted suicide) by the person for whom the facilitator is acting, such practical assistance as the person reasonably requests,
(b) to provide the person with comfort and reassurance,
(c) to be with the person when any drug or other substance or means dispensed or otherwise supplied for the suicide of the person is taken or used by the person,
(d) as soon as practicable after the expiry of the period of 14 days referred to in section 17(2), to remove from the person any such drug or other substance or means still in the person’s possession.
Section 21 concerns the licensing of facilitators
(1) The Scottish Ministers may, by order, appoint—
(a) a person or a body, association or group of persons to be the licensing authority, or
(b) persons or bodies, associations or groups of persons to be licensing authorities, for facilitators.
Sections 19 and 21 will enable the suicide lobby to control the assisted suicide industry. Compassion and Choices in Oregon, both promotes assisted suicide and does assisted suicide. If this bill passes, the suicide lobby will facilitate and profit from death.

Let's hope this bill dies in committee.

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