Assisted suicide bill proposed in Scotland lacks protection of conscience provision

Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill

An assisted suicide bill has been introduced in the Scots Parliament by M.S.P. Margo MacDonald.  The bill proposes that Scotland provide licensed suicide facilitators to (among other things) “provide, before, during and after the act of suicide (or attempted suicide) by the person for whom the facilitator is acting, such practical assistance as the person reasonably requests.”  It appears that the bill does not require physicians to participate directly in suicide, but they are expected to record and endorse declarations and requests for suicide in a patient’s medical record to confirm that they meet the criteria in the bill.  Physicians who oppose assisted suicide might well object to completing the paperwork required to facilitate it.  There is no reference to protection of conscience in the bill, and it is silent as to the means by which suicide is to be achieved.


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