Life and death

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I SHOULD like to correct and clarify several of the points David Robertson raised (Friends of The Scotsman, 13 February).  

He said that the proposed Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill will allow “doctors to assist in killing people”. This is fundamentally untrue.

The bill proposes that a doctor will write a prescription which would enable an individual to take their own life. That could only happen once a series of stringent safeguards were passed and hurdles overcome.

Any doctor who directly caused a patient’s death would remain liable to criminal action.

I would also like to reassure Mr Robertson that the campaign to support this legislation is not anti-religion – indeed, we have ­already received the support of several religious figures.

This is undoubtedly a difficult issue for everyone, both religious and non-religious. We believe the vital question here to be about choice – those who oppose this step, be it for religious or other reasons, are unlikely to be interested in the process. That is their right.

However, for the small number who would wish to have this option, we believe it should be made available.

It is interesting to note that in many jurisdictions with similar laws, only a fraction of those who choose to have an assisted suicide, do actually take their own life. It is the reassurance of having that option available, should they wish it, which brings comfort at the most difficult of times. 

I look forward to continuing to debate and air these issues with honourable opponents such as Mr Robertson and hope that, as a result, final legislation is passed which is strong and provides as much reassurance as possible.

Bob Scott

My Life, My Death, My Choice Campaign

Edinburgh

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