McArthur’s Assisted Dying Bill published by Scottish Parliament

28 Mar 2024
Liam McArthur MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has today published his Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill.

The aim of the bill is to enable mentally competent adults with an advanced, progressive terminal illness to be provided with assistance to end their life at their request. The development of the bill has been supported by the campaign groups Dignity in Dying, Friends at the End and Humanist Society Scotland.

The legal text of the bill can be found on the Scottish Parliament website here and a summary can be found in the notes to editors.

Mr McArthur lodged the draft proposal for his bill on 22 September 2021. A public consultation on assisted dying, elicited a record 14,038 responses with 76% of individuals who responded expressing full support with a further 2% partially supporting a change in the law.

A final proposal for a bill received backing from 36 MSPs – over a quarter of members, and as many as the number who voted for the previous assisted dying bill in the chamber at stage one.

MRP polling conducted on behalf of Dignity in Dying and released today has now revealed that a majority of Scots in every Scottish parliamentary constituency back a change in the law.

Liam McArthur MSP said:

“I’d like to thank Dignity in Dying, Friends at the End and Humanist Society Scotland as well as the Scottish Parliament’s non-governmental bills unit for their help in developing the bill that is published today.

“Our current laws on assisted dying are failing too many terminally ill Scots at the end of life.

“Too often, and despite the best efforts of palliative care, dying people are facing traumatic deaths that harm both them and those they leave behind.

“Polling has consistently shown overwhelming public support for assisted dying and now I believe that politicians are catching up with where the public has been for some time.

“This bill contains robust safeguards, similar to those which have been safely and successfully introduced in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States where they continue to enjoy strong public support.

"As my bill moves forward, I know my MSP colleagues will want to look closely at the detail and consider the compelling evidence supporting a change in the law. On that basis, I’m confident parliament will back my proposals to give terminally ill adults the choice they need."

Ally Thomson, Director of Dignity in Dying Scotland said:

“As Liam McArthur MSP’s Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults Bill is published in the Scottish Parliament the message from constituents to their MSPs is strikingly clear – it is time to change the law and vote to give dying people the choice of safe and compassionate assisted dying.

“In every constituency and region in Scotland there is an unshakeable majority of support for a compassionate assisted dying law, with tight safeguards that would benefit and protect dying people and improve end-of-life care as a whole. That law is now within our reach. The Bill published today provides the compassion and choice dying people need and put safety and protection in place where none currently exists.

“I’ve spoken to countless people who have watched a loved one endure a terrible death and don’t wish anyone else to suffer in a similar way and to so many terminally ill people who are desperate for the peace of mind that this Bill would bring. The publication of the Bill today gives them all hope that needless suffering can be consigned to the past.”

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