Assisted Suicide Bill: Nicola Sturgeon unconvinced

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is in support of good quality palliative care. Picture: PA
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THE First Minister has revealed she is not convinced by new legislation to allow assisted suicide.

Nicola Sturgeon gave her view on the Assisted Suicide Bill, currently being considered at Holyrood, during an interview with the Scottish Catholic Observer.

“I believe we should support people to live and I am therefore in favour of good quality palliative care”

Nicola Sturgeon

The Bill, which is being taken forward by Green MSP Patrick Harvie, would allow those with terminal or life-shortening illnesses to obtain help in ending their suffering.

It is the second attempt to legislate for assisted suicide at Holyrood, after the first was defeated by MSPs in a free vote in 2010.

Ms Sturgeon, who was interviewed for the newspaper on February 24, said: “I voted against it the last time and, although we are not near another vote yet, I haven’t been convinced about assisted suicide this time.

“I believe we should support people to live and I am therefore in favour of good quality palliative care.

“There also remains a major stumbling block to assisted suicide: How could you have sufficient safeguards?”

Her comments were welcomed by those opposing the new laws.

Dr Gordon Macdonald, spokesman for Care Not Killing (CNK), said: “This is a very welcome declaration from Scotland’s First Minister who rightly highlights the dangers of assisted suicide and correctly points out how difficult it would be to protect the most vulnerable, were the law to be changed.

“As MSPs examine these proposals more closely, increasing numbers are coming to the conclusion that they are unworkable and ill conceived.”

Holyrood’s Health Committee has concluded its evidence-gathering on the Bill at stage one, and is expected to produce its report in due course.

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