New Scottish policy in full: assisted dying
This policy was submitted by Gary Mclelland, HSLD Chair.
It was passed, unamended, by an overwhelming majority at the Scottish party conference in Aberdeen on Saturday 21st March 2015.
Compassion, dignity and choice at the end of life
Conference notes that:
- Assisted dying is currently an option for citizens of: the Netherlands; Belgium; Luxembourg; Switzerland; Columbia, and five US states (Washington; Oregon; New Mexico; Vermont and Montana).
- The Federal Party passed a motion supportive of the principles contained within this motion at Federal Conference in autumn 2012 (F20: Medically Assisted Dying), spring 2004 (Assisted Dying) and autumn 1997 (Assisted Dying).
- In 2010 the Scottish Parliament voted against (85 to 16) Margo MacDonald's End of Life Assistance Bill.
Conference expresses concern that:
- The current law for end of life care is unclear and would benefit from a clear process being laid out by the Scottish Parliament.
- A significant minority of people who suffer unendurably from medical conditions that offer no hope of recovery are physically unable to end their lives at a time of their own choosing without assistance.
Conference believes that:
- As a principle of freedom of individual choice, those suffering terrible physical and mental anguish caused by a terminal medical condition should be allowed reasonable assistance to end their own lives at a time of their choosing without risking the prosecution of the individual who assists.
- There is a need for continued investment in Scotland's excellent palliative care system to guarantee it continues to provide this vital service.
- No one should be required to be directly involved, against their will, in the process of assisting of assisting someone to end their life.
Conference calls for:
- The Scottish party to support the objectives of the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.
- Adequate safeguards to be put in place to protect vulnerable groups from manipulation or coercion in this process.
- Any such legislative proposal to be determined by way of a free vote in order to respect the freedom of conscience of Parliamentarians.