Faith leaders representing the Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, and the Scottish Association of Mosques have united to issue a statement opposing assisted dying, as a draft Bill is anticipated to be presented to Holyrood later this year.
Introduced by Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur, the proposed Bill would “enable competent adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with assistance to end their life”.
Under current legislation, people cannot ask for medical help to die. Campaigners believe current laws are “unjust” and are the cause of “needless suffering for many dying people and their families”.
However, the faith leaders strongly believe that the Bill would be “extremely detrimental” to the most vulnerable in society and urged the Scottish Parliament to “consider carefully the implications”.
The statement read: “Our faith traditions are united in the principle that assisted dying in itself inevitably undermines the dignity of the human person, and to allow it would mean that our society as a whole loses its common humanity.
“We grieve with those who grieve and identify with those who suffer. We acknowledge the sincerely held motivation of those seeking change, but do not believe that this is the correct approach to the alleviation of suffering. There is a very real danger that once legalised, these practices could put pressure on vulnerable individuals to opt for assisted suicide.”
The leaders further stated that society is called to “care for those who are suffering” and “not to end their lives” while reaffirming their joint opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia.
The statement concluded: “We would call upon Members of the Scottish Parliament to consider carefully the implications of this Bill, to express their concerns, and to vote against it.”
MSPs will be allowed a “free vote” meaning they are not required to vote in line with their party’s stance on the issue.