Assisted suicide: the thin end of the wedge

With, she thinks, a public mood behind her Margo Macdonald MSP is proposing a bill to legalise assisted suicide. Politicians wishing to attract votes are likely to follow. Now is the time to write to your MSP.

UPDATE: 03 January 2010

Anne McIntyre of Parliamentary Prayers Scotland writes:

PPS small logoOn 20th January, Margo MacDonald MSP who has Parkinson’s disease, brought the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill, to the Scottish Parliament. This would allow terminally ill people to seek help to die at a time of their choosing.

A survey of 90 of the 129 Members showed 17 supported the bill, 53 said they were against and 20 were undecided, and 39 results unknown. A free vote is expected for the first time in the autumn.
Mrs. McDonald, commented:

“It looks as though there are 17 people out of the 90 who are absolutely convinced of the case already. “However, once the public, who are overwhelmingly in favour of this Bill, start getting in touch with their MSPs they would be much more likely to vote for the bill”.

So, now is the time for us to get in touch to write directly to your local, constituency and regional MSPs. All eight of them. You can influence eight votes as, all Members have equal voting powers. will inform who represents you. If you have a personal story of a relative with a good ‘end of life’ experience – i.e. being well cared for in a hospice etc.that carries a lot of weight.

For information on how to write click here

Scroll down to the following letter and article for further information and the background to this development. The Inverness Courier carried an article from Dr Stephen Hutchison who is medical director to the Highland Hospice just over a year ago.

(Original article published 24/03/09)

Letter to the Herald

by Brian Ross

Dear Sir,
Click on logo for web page
and link to send a letter
The latest poll, commissioned by STV News, indicates (surprisingly to some) that some 75% of the population of Scotland support the idea that people should have the legal right to choose when they die. A slightly larger percentage (78%), according to the poll, believes that family members who assist their loved ones to die should not be prosecuted.

All of this may be seen as well and good. However, the six o’clock news bulletin yesterday (Mon.23rd) raised an issue of major concern. One gentleman, suffering from a terminal condition, who was being interviewed commented that if it was “playing God” to end someone’s life, it was equally “playing God” to prolong it.

This, I would respectfully suggest, is confusing two totally different situations. As I have stated in a previously published letter, I am totally opposed to euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide. However, the artificial prolonging of a human life by artificial means, does not strike me as providing the dignity to which the pro-euthanasia campaigners frequently refer.

This is a different matter altogether, and I would be one of those who would “vote” against it. It is one thing to cease to artificially maintain life; it is another thing altogether to deliberately end it. The area is, of course, a “grey” one. It is extremely difficult to make the decision to “switch off the machine”. I know that, as I had to make a similar decision with regard to my own mother – someone whom I loved deeply, and still miss greatly!

My worry is that others who were questioned may also have confused the issues, and that we have been presented with a conclusion that is based on faulty premises and is, therefore, false. I trust that, as is so often the case with other surveys, our political masters will not assume that this result is a genuine reflection of the views of all of the Scottish people, and that they will continue to oppose any measure that could be the thin end of a wedge that leads to compulsory euthanasia.

Yours faithfully,

C.B.Ross (Rev)


Stephen Hutchison
Highland Hospice consultant and committed Christian Dr. Stephen Hutchison was invited by the Inverness Courier to give his views on the subject.

He said:
"What patients want in response to their distress is loving, compassionate and competent caring — rarely physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia. But rarely does not mean never. Very occasionally patients will express a wish that their lives could be ended. Often that is an expression of distress rather than a considered request, and there is a well recognised association between this and depression, something we can improve with treatment. Others will mention it because they fear uncontrollable symptoms as the illness progresses, and we can often lessen these fears by reassuring our patients that modern symptom control is of high quality.
" Read on.....

Meanwhile Dr. Iain Kerr a Glasgow GP and former member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Scotland has admitted he was wrong to help an elderly woman patient commit suicide, has been given his job back. He has said: “What I did was unacceptable. There is no place for assisted suicide in medical practice.”

Arguments against euthanasia

List of articles on euthanasia

the Herald

Press and Journal

Highland News
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Shetland News

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  Orkney Today

Stornoway Gazette

 John OGroat Journal

Northern Times
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Ross-shire Journal

West Highland Free Press
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North Star

Inverness Courier
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Nairnshire Telegraph

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Forres Gazette
Strathspey Herald

Lochaber News

Oban Times
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Note from Christians Together:

If you don't see your newspaper listed above please be in touch and it will then be included.

Thank you!

Christians Together, 03/02/2010