As Scotland considers a proposal to legalize assisted suicide, the country’s Catholic bishops are speaking out with the message that assisted suicide attacks human dignity.
Their statement comes at the close of the public consultation period for a new bill introduced by MSP Liam McArthur. The bill would legalize assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in the country. According to The National, the proposal thus far appears to have had an “unprecedented response,” and 87% of the country is said to support the introduction of the legislation to Parliament. Now that the consultation period has closed, McArthur will work alongside the Scottish Parliament Non-Government Bills Unit to process the outcome, as he hopes to introduce the legislation as a new Members bill to Parliament in the coming year.
Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, commented on behalf of the bishops. “Assisted suicide attacks human dignity and is based on the mistaken belief that individuals can lose their value and worth. The state should support the provision of care, not the deliberate killing, of those at the end of life” he said.
“Apart from the fact that assisted suicide undermines efforts to prevent suicide and sends a message that suicide is sometimes appropriate it sends a clear message to frail, elderly and disabled Scots about the value that society places on them and puts pressure on them to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden on others. This is intolerable and utterly wrong.”
Horan went on to warn about the inevitable escalation that occurs once assisted suicide is legalized, pointing out that no matter how many safeguards are in place, these are often eroded over time, a pattern that has already been seen in various other places around the world.
“No matter how well-intentioned the safeguards are, it is impossible for any government to draft assisted suicide laws which include legal protection from future expansion of those laws,” he wrote. “The slippery slope is real and dangerous. MSPs should be preventing suicide, not assisting it by introducing a dangerous law with deadly and irreparable consequences.”
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