“The bill will result in human life being valued on its efficiency and utility, and increase pressure on the vulnerable”, religious leaders say.
Scottish religious leaders from the Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, and the Scottish Association of Mosques joined to voice their opposition to the assisted suicide draft law that will be discussed later this year.
They recently presented a joint statement in an event at the Scottish parliament, warning that “assisted dying in itself inevitably undermines the dignity of the human person, and to allow it would mean that our society as a whole loses its common humanity”.
The statement stresses that the draft law “will result in human life being increasingly valued on the basis of its efficiency and utility, […] and would increase pressure on vulnerable individuals to opt for assisted suicide rather than burden their families”.
“Our opposition is based on our Christian faith, and involves concerns around the application of the law in practice, the perception of the value of human lives, and also the effect which any change is likely to have on the provision of care, in particular, on palliative care”, said Rev Greenshields from the Church of Scotland.
Scottish Liberal Democrat Liam McArthur introduced the assisted dying bill to parliament last year, after gathering the backing of 36 cross-party MSPs.
It would be available to people aged 16 and over, with a prognosis of no longer than six months to live. According to McArthur “there is an unequivocal need for the law to change”.
“The assisted dying bill that I have proposed would offer a more compassionate choice to terminally ill, mentally competent adults only, subject to strict safeguards and alongside high-quality end-of-life care”, he added in response to the faith leaders’ claims.
in order to grant assisted death, the draft law would require the person to have the mental capacity to make the choice to request it, and the confirmation by two doctors that the patient is terminally ill.
Furthermore, it would also allow a 14-day reflection period, and would ensure that any choice was made without coercion.