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Janine Wiedel Photolibrary / Alamy Stock Photo
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Janine Wiedel Photolibrary / Alamy Stock Photo
World News

Scottish Catholics urge members to lobby MSPs against Assisted Dying Bill

by Kelly Valencia

Catholic churchgoers in Scotland are being encouraged to lobby their Members of Parliament against the recent Assisted Dying Bill, which could see assisted dying legalised in the nation.

In a pastoral letter addressed to all 460 parishes, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland described the proposed legislation as likely to lead the nation to “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 bill, introduced by the Lib Dem MSP Liam MacArthur last month, is expected to be debated in autumn and potentially voted on next year. It requires patients to have a terminal illness, be mentally sound, and gain approval from two doctors.

It has faced opposition from religious groups, including the Catholic Church in Scotland, the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Association of Mosques.

The Scottish Catholics’ letter cites evidence from other jurisdictions where assisted suicide is legal, including Oregon, where 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, 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,” they wrote.

“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,” they added.

A survey by the Dignity in Dying campaign group, which advocates in favour of the legalisation, found that more than three-quarters of Scots supported the policy.

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