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We must not normalise the taking of lives.

Byline: DR GORDON MACDONALD Care Not Killing Scotland

Changing the law has been debated in Holyrood on several occasions over the last decade, most recently 2015, when MSPs rejected the draft bill at the first stage.

Now, another challenge is being mounted, as revealed by the Sunday Mail last weekend.

Four years ago, MSPs reaffirmed the current laws on assisted suicide and euthanasia exist to protect the vulnerable from feeling obliged to end their lives.

And it's not just MSPs who oppose removing important protections. Every major disability rights organisation and doctors' group share their concerns.

All know we cannot allow vulnerable people to have their lives prematurely ended.

Advocates of "assisted dying" talk of protections and safeguards.

targeted Aurelia Brouwers and Roger Foley But once you legalise assisted suicide or euthanasia - even if restricted, to begin with - incremental extensions are inevitable. For example, very few would have envisaged assisted suicide or euthanasia being available to children or those with mental health problems.

Yet the laws in Belgium and the Netherlands, originally designed for terminally ill mentally competent adults, now include both.

In 2017 figures published by Dutch authorities show 169 dementia patients were euthanised and 83 people with psychiatric problems, such as Aurelia Brouwers, 29, who suffered from mental health issues.

Consider Barbara Wagner, a cancer sufferer from Oregon. After she was refused insurance to pay for chemotherapy, Oregon Health Plan offered to pay for assisted suicide instead.

Or Roger Foley, a 42-year-old from Ontario, Canada, who experienced similar problems.

He suffers from cerebellar ataxia. Health authorities have refused to pay for his social and home care, offering assisted suicide instead.

Changing the law normalises suicide. In Oregon, where AS was legalised in 1997, the rate is 45 per cent higher than the US average.

Our society should be preventing suicide, not assisting it. The dangers of legalising assisted suicide are real. We must resist it.

CAPTION(S):

targeted Aurelia Brouwers and Roger Foley

concerned Dr Gordon Macdonald of CNK

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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 3, 2019
Words:331
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