Scotland's Catholic bishops have hit out at assisted suicide proposals describing them as an attack on human dignity.

In a submission to the consultation on assisted suicide proposed by Liam McArthur MSP, they said that assisted suicide will undermine efforts to prevent all suicides, damage public trust in doctors and leave frail, elderly and disabled people feeling they are a burden on society.

The church response was submitted to the consultation by Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office.

He said: “Assisted suicide attacks human dignity and is based on the mistaken belief that individuals can lose their value and worth.

"The state should support the provision of care, not the deliberate killing, of those at the end of life.”

Pressure on vulnerable

Mr Horan added: “Assisted suicide undermines efforts to prevent suicide and sends a message that suicide is sometimes appropriate.

"It also sends a clear message to frail, elderly and disabled Scots about the value that society places on them and puts pressure on them to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden on others. This is intolerable and utterly wrong.

“No matter how well intentioned the safeguards are, it is impossible for any government to draft assisted suicide laws which include legal protection from future expansion of those laws.

The slippery slope is real and dangerous. MSPs should be preventing suicide, not assisting it by introducing a dangerous law with deadly and irreparable consequences.”