Friday, May 29, 2015

Great News! Scottish Assisted Suicide Bill Defeated 82 to 36

A Scottish assisted suicide bill has been defeated in its parliament: 82 - 36.[1]

The Bill would have allowed those with terminal or life-shortening illnesses to end their suffering with the assistance of another person, known as a "licensed facilitator".

It is being championed by Green MSP Patrick Harvie following the death of independent MSP Margo MacDonald in April 2014.

Alison Britton, convener of the Law Society's health and medical law committee, said the organisation was concerned that the Bill lacked clarity and would be difficult to enforce.

She said: "We have said throughout the passage of this Bill that legislation in this area needs to be absolutely clear and those seeking to end their lives, and those who assist them, need a robust and transparent process to be certain under which conditions it would be lawful for assistance to be provided.

"We remain concerned over the lack of definition of the key terms, such as 'assistance' and 'life-shortening' and the functions of the licensed facilitator are still uncertain.

"Lack of such clarity leads to ambiguity and leaves the legislation open to interpretation."

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[1] Alex Schadenberg, at