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First Minister and Health Secretary of Scotland states opposition to assisted suicide

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The First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, has stated that his opposition to assisted suicide has become more firmly entrenched following a discussion with a disability rights group.

In the previous year, the Liberal Democrat MSP, Liam McArthur, presented a final proposal for a bill to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland. Nevertheless, while the proposed bill has received support from a number of MSPs, this week both the First Minister of Scotland [the head of the Scottish government] and the Scottish Health Secretary have stated that they are opposed to a change in the law on assisted suicide.

Following a meeting with the Glasgow Disability Alliance earlier this week, Yousaf stated that he remained unconvinced that assisted suicide should be legalised in Scotland.

He observed that they were particularly vehement in their opposition to assisted dying, suggesting that they perceived themselves as the key to the wider acceptance of this practice.

The individuals in question exhibited a notable degree of concern, particularly in the wake of the global pandemic. They informed me of their experiences with Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) notices. Consequently, they were genuinely concerned and presented a compelling argument to me, as First Minister, to refrain from supporting assisted dying.

“I remain opposed to this practice.”

In response to a question regarding his stance on the legalisation of assisted suicide in Scotland, Health Secretary Michael Matheson stated, “I do not support this.” He had previously expressed opposition to the proposal.

“It is a matter of personal conscience that I have raised and that I continue to oppose.”

“I do not believe that it is the responsibility of society to make such decisions.”

In a statement to The Herald, Matheson expressed his opposition to the proposed legislation, citing concerns that it would place undue pressure on individuals with disabilities and illnesses to consider assisted suicide as a solution.

Although the proposed assisted suicide bill has not yet been released or voted on, the government in Westminster may block such legislation if aspects of it are deemed to conflict with legislation reserved for Westminster or have implications that would affect the whole UK.

In a survey of Canadians, 18% of respondents indicated that feelings of isolation or loneliness were a factor in their desire to die.

In the United Kingdom, assisted suicide and euthanasia remain illegal in all parts of the country. In certain jurisdictions, including the Netherlands and Canada, assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal. In Canada, for instance, 10,064 Canadians ended their lives by assisted suicide or euthanasia in 2021. This represented 3.3% of all deaths in the country and an increase of 32.4% from the previous year.

A total of 17.3% of individuals in Canada who chose this method of suicide cited “isolation or loneliness” as a reason for their decision. In 35.7% of cases, patients perceived themselves to be a burden on their family, friends, or caregivers.

Similarly, in Oregon, which UK assisted suicide campaigners, Dignity in Dying, frequently cite as a model for implementing legislation in the UK, among the end-of-life concerns listed by those who ended their lives, almost half (46.4%) of those who ended their lives reported being concerned about being a “burden on family, friends/caregivers,” and 6.1% said they were concerned about the “financial implications of treatment.”

A study conducted in Ireland revealed that nearly three-quarters of individuals aged 50 and above who had previously expressed a desire to die no longer held that desire two years later.

A survey conducted earlier this year of a thousand adults in Canada revealed that 27% of respondents would support the proposition that “poverty” should be a reason for euthanasia, while 28% would support the proposition that “homelessness” should be a reason for euthanasia.

In a statement, Right to Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson expressed her support for the stance taken by the leader of the Scottish Government and another prominent member of the Cabinet, who have both publicly opposed the legalisation of assisted suicide. Yousaf is correct in his assessment of the potential dangers that such legislation poses to individuals with disabilities, who will inevitably be targeted by such legislation.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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