Some links on the Scottish bill may be of interest:
The Scottish Parliament page linking the wording of the bill, stages, etc.:
Details of how to send your written evidence to the Committee:
Margo MacDonald’s response to the Doctors group before her death:
MSP Patrick Harvie’s website, with links to his recent newspaper statement on the bill:
Patrick Harvie MSP acted as a sort of understudy to MacDonald, the bill’s author. MacDonald was one of Scotland’s most loved and respected politician nationally, and the thought of her generates waves of emotion for an MSP that voiced the concerns of the people. She transcended party politics in a way no other politician has done. The national support is massive, both for her and the bill, but that does not mean the bill cannot be defeated. The engines of opposition are considerable.
The bill has many stages to go through before it qualifies for discussion by Parliament. This is controversial in itself as the Committee last time the bill was attempted was made up of MSPs who had a known hostility to the basic principle of the bill. We spent many hours preparing written evidence, giving verbal evidence, knowing that the vast expense of public money was possibly just a show. The faith objections to this work are generally highly organised and well-funded, so the more noise people can make in favour of the bill, the better!
Exit is in a soul-searching position on it all as we strongly support the bill in principle, publicly and privately; but, having sponsored and seen the results of Glasgow University’s lengthy viability study on the best way to approach assisted suicide legislation, we lament the fact that politicians always approach us after they have written a bill (seeking comments) rather than before (when we could be much more help!) Our Exit /Glasgow University template for legislation can be found here: http://www.euthanasia.cc/ssvbill.html but MacDonald’s also has much to recommend it.
Last week, two elderly, well-respected and very ill brothers shot themselves at home in Edinburgh. We ask, was this reasonable ending?? Armed police caused roadblocks for the area and a police helicopter swooped overhead. There was no doubt about the seriousness of their conditions, no doubt that they were mentally competent, no doubt that the incident was entirely free of foul play. The doubt targets a supposedly civilised society that cannot organise a better backup, better legal choices, a better expression of humanity, for those most in need at the end of their lives. Two good people were forced to die alone, in secret, and by doing violence to themselves, while politicians and preachers play and pray, while they utter soundbites and claim (through some secret channel unavailable to the rest of us) that God is on their side. All I can say is God help Us: for his emissaries clearly won’t.
Chris Docker (Director, EXIT 17 Hart Street, Edinburgh UK)