Assisted suicide isn’t really a term I’m that keen on but it’s what we’re calling the Bill in Scotland to afford people the right to choose to die and for others to help them if they need assistance.
(See more on terms like Assisted Dying and Euthanasia here.)
The Scottish Parliament carried out a public consultation to invite broad views on the subject and these are now in. They have published a report that pulls together the outcomes.
Analysis of Submissions of Evidence on the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill
The report shows that out of almost 900 submissions almost 8 out 10 individuals support the Bill. Many presented powerful personal experience to back up their views and considered judgement.
Of the organisations that responded to the public consultation, around half support the Bill. Not surprising that the number is lower than individuals … it can be harder for organisations to speak out, put their head above the parapet, be brave or radical. For many that are government funded, they spend their working lives being politically neutral and for some, there may be worries about offending funders, supporters or partners.
Support for an Assisted Suicide Bill
The report found 2 key pairs of themes emerging among supporters:
- dignity & dependence
- human rights & autonomy.
“Amongst those supportive of the Bill, it is widely felt that individuals suffering with terminal or life-shortening illness should be able to request assistance to commit suicide if that is their own wish.”
It goes on to say that being abel to assist someone’s death with the comfort that there’s legal protection is “strongly viewed as a compassionate and humane option”.
Unsurprisingly, views vary about how we might determine when/who/how someone qualifies as a suitable assistant in another’s suicide but for me, that’s just detail the lawyers can sort out.
For me, the ‘slippery slope’ arguments on the other side don’t bear up against the facts. See the excellent document Matter of Facts produced by Dignity in Dying down south: