News In Focus
Commission urged to tackle law of assisted dying
A call on the Scottish Law Commission to include the law relating to assisted dying in its next programme of law reform has been made by Friends at the End, a charity campaigning for assisted dying to be legalised.
The Commission has just completed a period of consultation on topics for its 10th programme of law reform, which will run from next year.
Friends at the End's proposal argues that there is a need for "a robust framework in Scotland to legislate responsibly for assisted dying in the interests of transparency and accountability," as well as empowering patients to make their own end of life choices.
It believes that medically assisted dying should be available to all mentally competent adults with either a terminal illness or an incurable condition causing hopelessness and unbearable suffering, with no reasonable alternative to relieve it, providing this is their own persistent request.
The charity has been working with MSPs to bring about a change in the law through a member’s bill to the Scottish Parliament, but previous attempts have been voted down at stage 1.
Amanda Ward, chief executive of Friends at the End, commented: “Scotland is falling woefully behind many of the jurisdictions who have addressed this very sensitive topic. By introducing legislation on assisted dying in Scotland, we can create a clear framework which protects the patient, their family and their medical team, if they find themselves in the positon with a terminal illness or incurable disease which leads to them deciding their end of life choices.”
She added: “The present law is based on traditional beliefs that are no longer held by many Scottish citizens and should not be imposed on those who do not share them.”