Catholic Church campaigns against Assisted Suicide Proposal

The Catholic Church in Scotland has restated its opposition to a new attempt to legalise assisted suicide.

While the church together with a wide range of other organisations supports the Care Not Killing group it has separately criticised the prospect of another consultation on the subject.

Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, said: "This is the third time in little over a decade that the Scottish Parliament has been asked to legalise assisted suicide.

"Despite the underlying arguments not having changed we are once again being confronted with the frightening proposal that doctors be legally permitted to help patients kill themselves by providing them with a lethal cocktail of drugs.”

Pressure on vulnerable people

He added: “Over the last eighteen months society has been reoriented to protect the most ill and vulnerable in response to the pandemic.

"Legalising assisted suicide moves in the opposite direction: putting immeasurable pressure on vulnerable people including those with disabilities to end their lives prematurely, for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden on others.”

Mr Horan restated the Catholic church position that “Once passed, incremental extensions and the removal of protections and safeguards are inevitable and have happened everywhere legislation has been passed.”

He called on MSP’s to “prevent suicide, not assist it” and urged Catholics to “engage with elected representatives to warn them of the serious dangers of assisted suicide and the deadly and irreparable consequences of its legalisation.”

  • Read the briefing on assisted suicide here.
  • The Archdiocese is hosting an event with Dr Gillian Wright titled 'Dying Well: How quality palliative care is the alternative to assisted suicide'. It takes place on Zoom (webinar) at 7:45pm on Tuesday 5 October. Register now at:

EVENT: Bioethics Day to help Catholics combat culture of death

Assisted suicide is a massive issue today. What's the Catholic view and what's the role of palliative care in resisting the culture of death?

Dr David Jones (below) knows all about the issues. He is Professor of Bioethics at St Mary's University in Twickenham and speaks at our Bioethics Day at the Gillis Centre, Edinburgh, on Saturday 25th January.

He will give a Catholic view of assisted suicide focusing on the theological, pastoral and legalistic issues. He will also describe his experience as Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford.

At this year's SPUC Scotland conference, delegates heard about the combined efforts of medical groups and politicians to embed the practice of assisted suicide into the United Kingdom.

It follows the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) announcing that its position on assisted suicide would move from one of opposition to neutrality.

Dr Gordon Macdonald, of Care Not Killing, warned that politicians were steadily beginning to embrace the concept of assisted suicide. In 2010, 65.9% of Westminster politicians opposed assisted suicide. However, currently, only 35.6% of Westminster politicians oppose assisted suicide with 37.5% ‘unknown’.

SPUC Deputy Chief Executive, John Deighan said: “There is a concerted move by the euthanasia lobby to get the medical bodies on side before attempting legislation. They appear to have identified the move to a neutral position as a way of gaining momentum for their cause.

“We must work to enhance life for sick, disabled and elderly people, not pass a law which offers them death as a solution to their problems.

“The current law protects every citizen, especially the elderly, sick and disabled. Offering people the choice to end their lives creates unacceptable pressure for them to choose death. It is vital that we resist all attempts to embed the abhorrent practice of assisted suicide into society".

Bioethics Day, Gillis Centre, 100 Stathearn Road, Edinburgh. 11:00am to 2:30pm (registration from 10:30am). Light lunch provided. Register now for this free event at Eventbrite.