The Scottish Parliament’s health committee which I convene recently launched a call for views on the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.
The proposed legislation introduced by independent MSP Margo MacDonald, will provide a means for certain people who are approaching the end of their lives, to seek assistance to end their lives at a time of their own choosing.
The MSP’s previous attempt to change the law was unsuccessful, but she believes the public now has greater awareness of the issue giving her new Bill a better chance of passing.
As my mailbag will confirm, this is a topic that has polarised public opinion and there are clearly strong views on both sides of the debate.
There is no doubt that legalising assisted suicide would be a huge change in how we treat people at the end of their lives, and there are a number of important moral and ethical issues that need to be explored as part of this debate.
This is why as a committee, we want to hear from as wide a range of people as possible – from GPs, pharmacists and the wider medical profession who would have a role in assisting in a person’s suicide to the third sector, police and legal profession.
Hearing from the experts is important, but we also want to hear from members of the public who are for and against, as well as individuals who may be affected by the proposed legislation.
We will use these views as a platform for debate as to how people are treated at the end of life.
To submit evidence to the Committee you can email HealthandSport@scottish.parliament.uk by Friday 6 June. To read more about the consultation you can visit the Scottish Parliament’s website at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk