Skip to content

Dignity in Dying to give evidence on Scottish End of Life Assistance Bill

Dignity in
Dying are pleased to endorse the Bill, following restriction in remit to terminally
ill, mentally competent adults

Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying will give evidence to the Scottish
Parliament’s Select Committee today on Margo McDonald MSP’s End of Life
Assistance Bill. Previously, Dignity in
Dying could only partially support Margo’s Bill over concerns about the impact
of legalising assisted suicide on potentially vulnerable people; but since she
has decided to limit the remit of the Bill to assisted dying for terminally
ill, mentally competent adults, Dignity in Dying will be broadly supporting the

Wootton said:

welcome the proposed changes that Margo has made to her Bill. There is a clear need for a change in the law
to allow the choice of assisted dying for people who are terminally ill,
mentally competent and suffering at the end of their lives, and I will be broadly
endorsing Margo’s proposals during the evidence session today.

know that currently people are taking desperate and often dangerous decisions
at the end of their lives, travelling abroad to die in unfamiliar surroundings,
or attempting suicide behind closed doors. These sad cases are then investigated retrospectively, after the person
has died. If any evidence of coercion or
wrongdoing on the behalf of another is found, the person has already died and
that person can no longer be protected. Margo’s Bill offers upfront safeguards allowing for a full consideration
of someone’s request to die when they are still alive. The provisions in the
Bill would also allow the person considering an assisted death to discuss their
options with their healthcare team, and therefore consider alternatives before
choosing an assisted death.

to the End of Life Assistance Bill cite vulnerable people as a reason to oppose
such change. I will argue that the only
way to protect people from a duty to die, whilst also protecting suffering
adults from a duty to suffer is regulating safeguarded assisted dying.”


Notes to

About Dignity in Dying:

· Dignity
in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the
end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an
assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to
high quality end-of-life care.

· Dignity
in Dying has over 25,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from
donations from the public.

· The
British Social Attitudes Survey 2010 found that 92% of non-religious and 71% of
religious people support assisted dying. This relates to overall support of 82%.

the End of Life Assistance Bill:

  • Independent
    MSP Margo MacDonald introduced the End
    of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill
    in the Scottish Parliament in
    January 2010. The Bill sets out a legal framework, subject to safeguards,
    which would permit assistance to be given by registered medical
    practitioners in Scotland to persons suffering from a progressive condition, permanent physical
    incapacitation or terminal illness who wish to end their own lives.
  • The Bill
    also sets out the process by which a person qualifies to receive an
    assisted death, and the responsibilities and duties of the medical
    professionals involved in the process.

Videos of the Parliamentary discussion can be viewed here:


For all media enquiries, please
contact Jo Cartwright on 020 7479 7737 / 07725433025 or at