The flag of Scotland. Credit: Lynx Aqua/Shutterstock.

CNA Newsroom, Sep 14, 2022 / 15:58 pm (CNA).

The Catholic Church in Scotland has spoken out about the dangers of current proposals to legalize assisted suicide for terminally-ill people.

Liam McArthur, who is a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), presented his final proposal for his ‘Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults’ Bill on September 8, which has prompted a strongly worded statement from Anthony Horan, director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office in Scotland.

In a statement issued Sept. 8, Mr. Horan said: “Liam McArthur’s final proposal for a bill on assisted suicide is frankly dangerous. It risks undermining the provision of palliative care and undermining efforts to prevent suicide it will make the most vulnerable people, including the elderly and disabled, feel like a burden and its safeguards will prove futile. The current law is the safeguard. We should be caring for people, not killing them.”

Horan, director of the Catholic Parliamentary office, added: “It is understandable that most people responding to the consultation supported the idea of a dignified death – we all do, but killing someone who is ill, is never dignified.

“The fact that a letter signed by 175 health care professionals from a variety of specialities has already outlined numerous concerns, highlights how dangerous this proposal is.”

Horan added: “The Catholic church would urge Scottish politicians to learn of the dangers that have already been seen abroad, particularly intolerable pressure on the vulnerable, disabled or elderly to end their lives prematurely.”

Meanwhile, the public consultation on McArthur’s Bill has been riddled with controversy after the pro-life organization, Right to Life, released a statement on Sept 8, saying that more than three and a half thousand responses had been removed from the public consultation.

It read: “3,526 submissions from members of the public to the consultation on Liam McArthur’s assisted suicide Bill has been removed, resulting in calls for the Scottish Government to conduct an urgent independent review of the handling of the consultation process.

“Liam McArthur conducted a consultation on his assisted suicide Bill that closed on 22 December 2021, with the results of the consultation released today. The consultation report outlined that Liam McArthur has chosen to remove all consultation submissions from members of the public who were mobilized to make a submission through a campaign run by Right To Life UK, which encouraged members of the public to submit to the consultation.

 “Right To Life UK’s internal systems show that 3,526 submissions to the consultation were made from members of the public off the back of the campaign, all opposing assisted suicide, and the consultation report states that all submissions made off the back of that campaign were removed.

 “These submissions were made by members of the public who provided all the contact details that the consultation required to be included with each individual submission.

 “The largest assisted suicide lobby group in the country, Dignity in Dying, also mobilized supporters to submit to the consultation, but there is no mention in the report of removing submissions from members of the public who were mobilized to submit by that campaign.”

Liam McArthur intends to win enough backing from MSPs to allow the Bill to be formally introduced into the Scottish Parliament next year.

The law on assisted suicide in Scotland is handled separately to the law in England and Wales.


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