Legalising euthanasia is unthinkable

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YET again Rev Dr John Cameron (Letters, 28 November) attempts to justify the legalisation of euthanasia by using specious arguments.

For instance, he alleges that “modern medicine can prevent nature taking its merciful course”. Does he want us to stop treating all life-threatening diseases and let “nature” take its course?

Is a “natural” death, without pain relief or palliative care, either dignified or ­merciful?

Good medical care recognises when the end is near and intrusive or distressing curative treatment should cease. Palliative care continues to the end. This is not ­euthanasia.

He also alleges that “large numbers of doctors admit they have resorted to euthanasia”. I find this incredible. Deliberately administering a lethal dose of a drug with the intention of ending a life would be a criminal offence.

At a time when governments are alarmed about the rise in suicide rates, it is unthinkable that responsible people should back the legalisation of “assisted suicide”. Such legislation, however carefully framed so as to give a tiny minority of people the right that they crave, while attempting to protect the vulnerable, would have far-reaching consequences.

The role of the medical practitioner would, for the first time, include the right and duty to end life. I find this repugnant.

What are we to say to the suicidal depressed person or bullied school pupil? Why shouldn’t they exercise autonomy over their own lives and end them if they can take no more? At a time when “elder abuse” is on the rise, how are we to protect the vulnerable when some form of “assisted dying” is a legal option? Compassionate care to the end of life is more supportive of human dignity, both for the sufferers and the carers, than the deliberate ending of life.

(Rev Dr) Donald M 

Craiglockhart Grove


WHEN John Cameron (Letters, 28 November) claims politicians “refuse to tackle the matter of assisted suicide head-on”, what he means is that they have come to a decision not to his liking.

If the scrutiny of the Scottish Parliament two years ago is not “tackling it head-on” I don’t know what is: a special committee set up, the opportunity for everyone in the country to submit their views, evidence taken from expert witnesses from home and abroad. And after all that, an overwhelming vote against assisted suicide.

Our MSPs have wisely realised that legalising assisted suicide would have significant unintended consequences for society as a whole and is about much more than merely personal autonomy.

William W Baird

St Clement Avenue