Opposition groups to Assisted Dying have been raising concerns about the consultation process open in the Scottish Parliament regarding the member’s bill that would allow for Assisted Dying of terminally-ill mentally competent adults. Some of the claims made by opposing groups are inaccurate or misleading, whilst others are simply confused. We want to address a couple of important points that have made the news recently. The first is the claim that legalising assisted dying would put disabled people in danger. The bill proposal wants to provide the choice of assisted dying for the terminally ill. People living with disabilities are an entirely different category.
Secondly, terminally ill people living in remote jurisdictions could have a harder time accessing the two evaluating doctors the bill proposal suggests would be needed to authorise the process, and video link has been used in permissive jurisdictions under exceptional circumstances. “There are ongoing wider conversations about how remote consultations might best be utilised in healthcare to reduce inequalities and barriers to access for individuals. We must ensure dying people are not left behind.” Liam McArthur MSP, the man behind the bill has said.
Public consultation is open and we are seeking participation from all sectors of society and we need all voices to be heard. At Friends at the End, we sympathise and understand how for a lot of people, suffering at the end of life might bear irreplaceable spiritual meaning. However, for a huge number of others, the excruciating suffering caused by a terminal illness is unbearable and these people, too, have the right to decide how to exercise their dignity at the end. They are worthy of our compassion.
To learn more about the proposal you can listen to episode one of our podcast below, where we have Liam McArthur MSP as a guest alongside our previous CEO, Amanda Ward talking at length about these and other questions. You can also find more information about the proposal and how to participate in the consultation here.
In Liam´s words: “No amount of scaremongering by some opponents of reform can change the fact that the status quo offers no real options, precious few safeguards and all too often only dreadful decisions”.
The people deserve better. The time is now to rethink our choices at the end.