Slur on doctors

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I must take issue with the (Rev Dr) Donald MacDonald’s claim (Letters, 19 December) that Margo MacDonald’s Assisted Suicide Bill does not offer strong safeguards.

As is the way with most opponents to a change in the law on assisted suicide, Dr MacDonald mixes fact and assertion in an attempt to cast a haze of uncertainty over matters.

The current bill offers clear and unambiguous safeguards to protect those, such as Dr MacDonald, who wish to have no part in it.

Without clear parliamentary support, no broadening of eligibility could happen.

He is correct to assert that other countries have extended eligibility, but is he seriously suggesting that this has been done in secret, or without public approval or support? If so, I would be very interested to see this research.

Despite the claims made by opponents such as Dr MacDonald, there is no real evidence to support his assertion of abuses in the application of assisted suicide laws in other countries.

In fact, such claims do a huge disservice to their legal and medical professions.

As Professor Linda Ganzini, professor of psychiatry and medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, said, in response to such a claim: “Any physician who goes outside the law takes a huge risk, given that there is a way of staying within it, any physician found to be involved in such practices would suffer enormous negative repercussions”. Indeed.

Peter Warren

Margo MacDonald’s office

Scottish Parliament

Edinburgh