Suicide bill

Richard Lucas (Letters, 20 January) writes that in a previous 
letter to The Scotsman I “seemed to concede my point about the inevitability of perceived pressure to die”.

But he ignores the fact that I went on to say that “the Assisted Suicide Bill incorporates measures to ensure that someone opting for assisted suicide is not succumbing to pressure but that their decision represents their settled will in accordance with their long-term values”. That is the crucial point.

There may be pressure to die whether or not the bill is passed, because it is already legal to refuse treatment and, as I pointed out, again to be ignored by Richard Lucas, patients are already in that respect open to the pressure from the grasping relatives that opponents of assisted suicide love to fantasise about.

A good thing about the Assisted Suicide Bill is that it places the patient firmly in control of the process, giving protection from impulsive decisions and succumbing to pressure that may spring from a moment of weakness.

It would appear that Mr Lucas’s position is that assisted suicide can never be allowed, no matter what the circumstances or safeguards and despite the cruelty it manifests of a reverence for natural suffering that will not even consider sensible safeguards.


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Paul Brownsey

Larchfield Road