Church reaffirms opposition to assisted suicide bill following health committee report

Sally-parliament
Rev Sally Foster Fulton has reaffirmed the Church's position on the assisted suicide bill being proposed by MSPs. (pic courtesy of BBC Democracy Live)

The Church of Scotland has reaffirmed its opposition to the assisted suicide bill as a long awaited report into its merits today was published by Holyrood's health committee.

The document will help determine if the legislation, which would allow those with terminal or life-shortening illnesses to obtain help in ending their life, should advance to the next stage of the parliamentary system. A majority of members of the committee opposed the general principles of the legislation.

But they have decided to let the whole Scottish Parliament decide whether or not to throw out the measure.

For months MSPs have been taking evidence from people for and against the issue.

The issue will be subject to a full debate at the end of May and MSPs will decide whether the proposals should be rejected.

Rev Sally-Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church and Society Council, says: "The Church of Scotland, along with a considerable number of groups, remains concerned with both the general principles and the specific content of the assisted suicide bill.

"Critical flaws in the proposed legislation include an absence of any mental health check and a minimum age of 16. Both make the bill in its present form untenable.

"However, the overriding opposition is an abiding concern for the most vulnerable in our society and the negative impact right to die legislation may have on their quality of life.

"In our focus on autonomy and personal choice, there is the danger we forget that personal choice does not exist in a vacuum and a choice for some may undermine choices for others. Every personal choice has a community impact."

Learn more about the Church of Scotland's position on end of life issues.