WATCH: Assisted dying in Canada - a warning to Scotland

The dangers of assisted suicide were highlighted last night (13 June) by Ramona Coelho, a doctor based in Canada which has Medical Assistance in Dying.

She shares harrowing accounts of how the most vulnerable people in society, including the disabled, the elderly and those with mental health issues - are particularly at risk.

Watch below or on YouTube (30 min webinar with chapters).

Tell MSPs to oppose Assisted Suicide for Scotland. You can submit your views to The Scottish Parliament here. Submissions should be made by Friday 16 August. 

Workshop: Called to Care, Not to Kill

The Assisted Dying Bill could be law in Scotland soon.

The bill’s proposer, Liam McArthur MSP, claims he has sufficient MSPs to vote for it.

Following the Bishops of Scotland recent Pastoral Letter, can you help your parish by contributing to a short life campaign network?

All you need is a genuine concern about the issue and willingness to work with others, involvement in previous church activity is not essential.

By the end of this workshop you'll be able to engage with, and inform others, in plain language, about key concerns arising from Liam McArthur’s bill.

The workshop will provide you with information and materials to support conversations around these key concerns.

This initiative will be supported by the Campaign Against Assisted Dying group (CAAD), who have experience in such development work, in conjunction with the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office.

CAAD will provide materials to support engagement and information sharing.

In addition to planning and publicity material, they also provide ongoing advice and support.

Conference: The Future of Care in Scotland

The conference will discuss the implications of changing the law in Scotland to permit assisted dying.

It will take place in The Renfield Centre, opposite The Kings Theatre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JP.

Tickets are free. Book on Eventbrite or call 07388 347 910.

Speakers Dr Gillian Wright. Former palliative care doctor in Glasgow who now works as a researcher in medical ethics for the Scottish Council for Human Bioethics. Gillian also works for Care not Killing as the Director of their campaign Our Duty of Care which brings together health care professionals opposed to the introduction of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Dr Gordon MacDonald. CEO care not killing. He has been extensively involved over the years on opposing Assisted Dying when it has come before Parliament on previous occasions.

Dennis Canavan. Member of Parliament for West Stirlingshire (1974-83) then Falkirk West (1983-2000 then Member of the Scottish Parliament for Falkirk West (1999 - 2007). “My children died in dignity and I beg to differ from those who assert that the option of assisted suicide is necessary to ensure dignity in death.”

Marianne Scobie. Deputy CEO Disability Alliance Marianne has been a disabled person since early childhood. Marianne was a founder member of GDA before joining the team in 2010 and is now Depute CEO. Marianne serves on a range of Glasgow City Council, Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland advisory groups.

Conference: The Future of Care in Scotland is an event organised by the Campaign Against Assisted Dying.

Catholics urged to reject ‘dangerous’ assisted suicide

The bishops of Scotland say Catholics must urge their MSPs to reject the recently published assisted suicide proposals.

They make the call in a pastoral letter that will be read out in all of Scotland’s 460 Catholic parishes, at all Masses on 27 & 28 April.

The bishops describe the proposal put forward by Liam McArthur MSP, as “dangerous".

They call on MSPs to focus their energies on improving palliative care which the bishops say is “underfunded and limited”.

When vulnerable people express concerns about being a burden, the appropriate response is not to suggest that they have a duty to die.

The letter states, that a law which “allows us to kill our brothers and sisters takes us down a dangerous spiral that always puts at risk the most vulnerable members of our society, including the elderly, and disabled, and those who struggle with mental health”.

The letter cites evidence from other jurisdictions where assisted suicide is legal, including Oregon, where consistently around half of people who choose assisted suicide do so because they feel they are a burden on their families or on their communities and healthcare system.

“When vulnerable people, including the elderly and disabled, express concerns about being a burden”, say the bishops, “the appropriate response is not to suggest that they have a duty to die; rather, it is to commit to meeting their needs and providing the care and compassion they need to help them live”.

The bishops point out: “When our society is already marked by so many inequalities, we do not need assisted suicide to put intolerable pressure on our most disadvantaged who do not have a voice in this debate.”

Please contact your MSP today to stop assisted suicide becoming legal in Scotland. Guidance on contacting your MSPs is available at www.rcpolitics.org/assistedsuicide, or email office@rcpolitics.org for more information. 

Bishop Keenan on 'damaging' assisted suicide Bill

The Catholic Church has responded to the publication of “The Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill” by Liam McArthur MSP (above right).

Bishop John Keenan, the Bishop of Paisley (above left) has described it as “a dangerous idea that a citizen can lose their value and worth.”

His full statement is below.

“Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has today published a damaging bill which attacks human dignity and introduces a dangerous idea that a citizen can lose their value and worth.

The Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill may refer to ‘assisted dying’, but this is a euphemistic term which doesn’t accurately describe the reality.

Assisted dying is already practised by our health professionals and organisations, in the form of palliative care.

An accurate term for what the Bill seeks to legalise is assisted suicide.

It is a law which will allow a doctor to provide a patient with a lethal cocktail of drugs to kill themselves.

Implicit in assisted suicide is that the value of human life is measured by efficiency and utility and not by dignity.

In crude terms, it means an individual can lose their value to society because of illness or disability.

We are called to care for those who suffer, including those at the end of life.

In this way, the appropriate response of civic society to suffering is not to facilitate death by prescription, but rather, to provide good, reliable care, including palliative care, for all those who need it.

Assisted suicide sends a message that there are situations when suicide is an appropriate response to one’s individual circumstances, worries, anxieties.

It normalises suicide and accepts that some people are beyond hope. 

Furthermore, assisted suicide undermines trust in doctors and damages the doctor- patient relationship. And in countries where assisted suicide is legal, there is evidence that vulnerable people, including the elderly and disabled, experience external pressure to end their lives.

In Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, it is common for around half of people to list fear of being a burden as one reason for hastening their death.

It is little wonder that most major disability organisations in the UK are opposed to assisted suicide.

Assisted suicide is also uncontrollable.

Every country where assisted suicide or euthanasia is legal has seen so-called ‘safeguards’ eroded and eligibility criteria expanded to include people with arthritis, anorexia, autism, dementia.

And also, children.

When vulnerable people, including the elderly, poor and disabled, express concerns about being a burden, the appropriate response is not to suggest that they have a duty to die; rather, it is to commit to meeting their needs and providing the care and compassion they need to help them live.

This Bill has been introduced in Holy Week, when Christians reflect on the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus, the man who is their Lord and God and showed us what it means to be truly human.

Where Liam McArthur’s Bill sees little point in human suffering and promotes the idea that a person’s life can become so hopeless as to be no longer worthwhile, this week is a timely reminder that when we support each other in suffering it can lead to a truly dignified death and offer the best of hope and possibility for our world.”

Bishop John Keenan is vice president of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland and Bishop President for Marriage, Families and Life.

Lobby your MSP against assisted suicide

The Catholic Parliamentary Office has called on parishioners across Scotland to lobby MSPs against dangerous proposals to legalise assisted suicide. 

A briefing, which has been sent to every Catholic parish in the country, asks parishioners to contact local MSPs, either as individuals or as part of an organised parish group.

Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, said:  “The Catholic community in Scotland was key to stopping assisted suicide in 2010 and 2015.

"We need them to step up once again.

"Please help us to stop death by prescription in Scotland and to call for better palliative care instead. We should be caring for people, not killing them.”

Among the dangers outlined in the briefing:

The church also points out that assisted suicide is uncontrollable.

In every country where assisted suicide and/or euthanasia is legal, safeguards have been eroded and eligibility criteria expanded to now include people with arthritis, anorexia, autism and dementia. It has also been extended to include children. 

Liam McArthur MSP is expected to publish a Bill later this year proposing the legalisation of assisted suicide. 

Catholic parishioners and others are urged to visit the website Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office website for guidance on contacting MSPs.

 

 

 

Webinar on the dangers of Assisted Suicide

A webinar titled 'Assisted Suicide: The Dangers' will consider the outcome of the potential legalising of assisted suicide in Scotland, and what you can do to help prevent it.

It takes place this Thursday (31 August) at 7:00pm and you can register here.

Liam McArthur MSP is expected to publish proposals to legalise assisted suicide later this year

This webinar will consider what those proposals will look like and, breaking them down, explain why assisted suicide is a very bad idea.

It aims to equip you with the key arguments against assisted suicide and provide you with advice on how to share your concerns most effectively with MSPs.

Speakers

Dr Gillian Wright is a former palliative care doctor in Glasgow who now works as a researcher in medical ethics for the Scottish Council for Human Bioethics. Gillian also works for Care not Killing as the Director of their campaign Our Duty of Care which brings together health care professionals opposed to the introduction of assisted suicide and euthanasia. 

Brian Cairns is a retired teacher with trade union experience. Brian has previous involvement with local community political campaigning and, along with members of St Margaret’s Church Clydebank and the wider community, has established a campaign group to oppose proposals to legalise assisted suicide.

Anthony Horan is Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. Anthony, a qualified lawyer, has significant experience in political engagement on a wide range of issues, including assisted suicide. Anthony is also a member of the Care Not Killing steering group.

For further details and to register, please click here. Webinar organised by the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office.

Assisted Suicide: The Dangers

Later this year Liam McArthur MSP is expected to publish proposals to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland.

Join us for this webinar to consider what those proposals will look like and, breaking them down, explain why assisted suicide is a very bad idea.

We aim to equip you with the key arguments against assisted suicide and provide you with advice on how to share your concerns most effectively with MSPs.

Online, Thursday 31 August at 7:00pm. Register here

Speakers

Dr Gillian Wright is a former palliative care doctor in Glasgow who now works as a researcher in medical ethics for the Scottish Council for Human Bioethics. Gillian also works for Care not Killing as the Director of their campaign Our Duty of Care which brings together health care professionals opposed to the introduction of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Brian Cairns is a retired teacher with trade union experience. Brian has previous involvement with local community political campaigning and, along with members of St Margaret’s Church Clydebank and the wider community, has established a campaign group to oppose proposals to legalise assisted suicide.

Anthony Horan is Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. Anthony, a qualified lawyer, has significant experience in political engagement on a wide range of issues, including assisted suicide. Anthony is also a member of the Care Not Killing steering group.

Event organised by the Catholic Parliamentary Office for Scotland.

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: bit.ly/DyingWellEvent

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.