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Friday, 22 January 2010

Euthanasia - again!

The resurrection of the attempt by Margo McDonald, MSP to bring about, in Scotland, the legalisation of euthanasia through her proposed Assisted Suicide Bill, and the many objections that I expect to hear and read will, doubtless, bring about the usual plethora of complaints that the 'religious right' are trying to impose their views and beliefs on the rest of society.

However, let's forget any religious/moral objection to this proposed legislation. Surely we must still recognise that its implementation would involve serious risks to public safety. A law that may be acceptable for a minority of determined, and self-relient, people - people like Margo McDonald, for whom I have a high regard - could easily result in others who are depressed, or suffering from feelings of guilt at the "burden" that they are imposing on their families, following the same course of action. In addition, the possibility of pressure from more unscrupulous family members could not, sadly, be discounted.

It may, of course - and probably will - be argued that the law would ensure that this such situations did not arise. However, it is my understanding of the proposals, as currently made, that there are almost no safeguards included. Even if more were to be added, we would already have set out on a very slippery slope. Baroness Warnock, a major proponent of assisted suicide in England and Wales, has already suggested, publicly, that people with dementia are wasting the lives of others, and the resources of the NHS, and should consider whether, or not, they ought to remove themselves as a burden on their families! Once we start to think along those lines, it becomes difficult to anticipate where the final line would be drawn. Look at what happened with the Abortion Act - designed to help the few who were the victims of "back-street" abortions but, within a relatively short period of time, having become, to all intent, abortion on demand.

As I pointed out when this issue was last raised by Ms McDonald, there are many actions in life, the results of which may be reversed. Unfortunately, euthansia is not one of them!

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