Switzerland-based group Dignitas behind push for assisted suicide in Scotland

fentanyl, Scotland, assisted suicide, DNR, Scotland

A well-known euthanasia advocacy organization has been found to be behind the push for legalizing assisted suicide in the Scottish parliament.

According to the BBC, Dignitas, a Switzerland-based organization committing assisted suicide, is backing the bill in Scotland’s parliament to legalize assisted suicide, while criticizing the Scottish government for not doing so sooner.

“Close to 500 UK residents, including 16 of Scotland, have been forced to leave their home just because they wished to have legal assisted dying, which they were able to access at Dignitas,” the organization said in a statement, adding, “[F]or many years, the UK has been outsourcing the issue of assisted dying to Switzerland, thus knowingly violating citizens’ human rights to have this choice at home.”

Under the current legislation, two doctors would have to agree that the patient is terminally ill, is not suffering from any mental illness, is not being coerced, and is able to self-administer the fatal drugs. After signing a written declaration, the patient would be required to have a “period of reflection,” which Dignitas also opposes.

READ: Group cries foul as officials nullify thousands of public objections to Scotland assisted suicide bill

“The experience of Dignitas derived from having conducted over 3,200 PSAS (physician-supported assisted/accompanied suicides ) is that, generally, people who contemplate end-of-life-choices make up their mind as part of their ‘personal life philosophy’ long before they would face a health situation in which they would get in touch with Dignitas to request PSAS,” they said, according to Aberdeen Live. “Any timeframe – 30, 14 days, or shorter – leads to possibly prolonging the suffering.”

The group also complained that people would only be allowed to undergo assisted suicide if they are terminally ill:

To only allow access to assisted dying for individuals who are terminally ill (as defined in the consultation document) is to discriminate against individuals who suffer from health conditions that are, by medical opinion, not ‘progressive’ and ‘reasonably expected to cause death.’

The Scottish proposition has also been criticized by numerous people. Thousands of objections to the bill were ignored and discarded, while a group of doctors also voiced their opposition.

The bishops in the country likewise spoke out against it.

“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,” Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, previously said in a statement. “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.”

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