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Margo MacDonald publishes assisted suicide bill

21 January 2010

Independent MSP Margo MacDonald has today introduced to the Scottish Parliament her End Of Life Choices (Scotland) Bill, which would allow people whose lives have become intolerable through a progressive degenerative condition, a trauma or terminal illness to seek a doctor's help in dying.

It is not illegal to attempt suicide in Scotland, but helping someone take their own life is. The MSP, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, wants terminally ill people to be able to ask willing doctors to help them die at a time of their choosing.

Ms MacDonald said that based on the experience of countries where assisted dying was legal, it would accountr for around one in 2,000 deaths, or about 50 a year in Scotland.

The bill is expected to face strong opposition. Doctors with religious or moral objections would not be obliged to help any patient to end their life.

The bill will be examined initially by Holyrood's Health Committee and may not face a parliamentary vote until the autumn.

To read a copy of the End Of Life Choices (Scotland) Bill (As Introduced), click here

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