Letter: They win, we lose

With the defeat of Margo MacDonald's bill on assisted dying, (your report, 2 December) perhaps those who have been complaining loudest about the impotence of their religion in Scottish society will permit themselves a smug smile of satisfaction.

While Ms MacDonald can produce opinion poll surveys clearly indicating that a large majority of Scots agree in principle with the concept of her bill, a campaign of misinformation and misdirection, largely backed by churches, has swayed a majority of MSPs, feart for the religious backlash, into voting against a brave and much-needed measure.

As a retired person with a chronic ailment luckily (as of now) well under control, I welcomed the idea that, should the time come when I was no longer coping and wished an easy exit, there might be a straightforward and legal means to achieve this. A combination of religious and medical dogma has - I hope temporarily - dashed that aspiration.

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I particularly regret that once again our MSPs have shown themselves at odds with the Scottish zeitgeist, and, sadly, poor representatives of a modern and progressive nation.

Michael CB McGregor



I assume the 85 fearties who voted against Ms MacDonald's bill for voluntary euthanasia will be hoping their god spares them the indignities of a slow and hideous death. Maybe a heart attack or being run over by a bus?

Certainly that would be better than dying of neglect or infection in one of our overcrowded hospitals. How dare they assume the right to decide the manner of my death?

To hell with expense. I'll head for Switzerland with my living will and credit card.

Christine Brown

Darney Terrace

Kinghorn, Fife

Dr Calum Mackellar (Letters, 1 December) appears to support a view that palliative care has all the answers.

This is just not true, and while not for one second demeaning the great value of palliative care, it would be more realistic to regard it as another medical treatment with its inevitable limitations.

And while Dr Mackellar is rightly concerned about "an acceptance of the principle that some human lives are unworthy of life", he makes no mention of the quality of that life nor of the right of terminally ill people to decide this for themselves.

We need to accept the idea that not all terminally ill patients want palliative care.

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Some dread losing control over their own circumstances, becoming dependent on others and of course the symptoms and treatment.

They want to die on their own terms. They know they are going to die anyway - so why must they go through this? Where is compassion and respect for their autonomy?

(Dr) Jack Macfie

Albert Terrace