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Care Not Killing Alliance comments on Scotland’s assisted suicide bill

by | Jun 28, 2021

Editor’s note. This was posted on the blog of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and is reposted with permission. Dr. Gordon Macdonald, the CEO of the Care Not Killing Alliance comments on Scotland’s “assisted dying” bill. This can be viewed here.

We at Care Not Killing have a lot of concerns about this. 

We have seen, with the COVID pandemic how elderly people and disabled people have suffered more than others. How they haven’t received the same care as other people have received in many cases, how there has been a disproportionate number of disabled people who have died as a result of COVID, how do not resuscitate orders were placed on people without their consent or their knowledge. The government have been very clear that the policy on do not resuscitate orders wasn’t that it should be applied in a blanket way and it is almost certainly a breach of human rights and yet it happened.

So how can we trust the safeguards which are being talked about for this bill that the government will actually implement them?

And more over, in other jurisdictions we have seen how the safeguards have eroded.

In the Netherlands, when assisted suicide and euthanasia were introduced, they were expanded from people who were terminally ill to people who are chronically ill. From people who were mentally competent to people who are not mentally competent. To people with psychiatric illnesses, from adult’s to children and there is a debate currently applying it to children aged 1 to 12 and it already applies to infants who are disabled with spina bifida and other conditions, up to the age of 12 months.

In Belgium we see that the laws are not implemented properly and euthanasia deaths happen outside of the law without consent being obtained. In many cases they happen to people with a multitude of minor conditions, even when they don’t have any major terminal illness or major suffering which would qualify under the law.

There are all sorts of abuses happening in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Even in Oregon we see where the numbers have increased from 16 in 1998 to 245 in 2020 of those who are having an assisted suicide. It’s likely that 25% of those people, at least, are clinically depressed and yet only one or two per year have been referred for psychiatric evaluation. So there is a huge number of people, probably 60, in 2020, who should have been referred for a psychiatric evaluation before they were given an assisted suicide but weren’t.

This is what happens in places like Oregon. They claim that they have strict safeguards but those safeguards are not implemented.

In other places, such as Belgium and Canada we are seeing hospice funding being threatened. In Canada the government published data recently saying that they had saved $140 Million on care services as a result of introducing euthanasia.

These are the dangers, I think, that whilst its introduced on the basis of autonomy and rights, actually it ultimately gets driven by other factors, saving money, people who are vulnerable being deemed by other people that their lives are not worth living.

This is a very dangerous development and we really need to not go down this road in Scotland.

Categories: Assisted Suicide