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More than three-quarters of Scots say “important” Assisted Suicide Bill becomes law

A new poll published this morning shows that over three-quarters of the Scottish electorate believe it is important that the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill becomes law.

The poll, published today by My Life, My Death, My Choice, the umbrella campaign setup to support the Bill, found that 78% of the Scottish electorate believe it was of medium or high importance that the legislation becomes law.

This figure builds on previous independent polling data, responses to MSPs and support for a public petition showing consistently high public support for the Bill and comes as groups in favour of the Bill prepare to give evidence to the Health & Sport Committee currently considering the legislation. Of the 78% who said it was important the Bill became law, 47% said it was of “high importance” and 31% said it was of “middling importance”.

 

The Bill includes strict safeguards against coercion or intimidation, protections for vulnerable groups and guarantees that no Doctor will be forced to be involved in anyway. Protective measures include provisions such as no family member or anybody who would benefit financially being involved at any stage. The Bill also requires that only the individual concerned can carry out the actual act of ending their life. (For more on the process proposed in the Bill see Notes to Editors)

Bob Scott, spokesperson for My Life, My Death, My Choice said: “Over the past 12 months, there has been consistently high support for the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill. This has been clearly demonstrated in the poll in 2014 showing 69% support, the 74% of submissions to the Health & Sport Committee asking the legislation to be passed and the nearly 4000 people who have signed a petition to MSPs in favour of the Bill.”

“Last year, we were told by opponents of the Bill that the issue wasn’t of real importance to the public. With 78% saying it is important the Bill be passed that idea is clearly debunked. This legislation has huge public support and is clearly of major importance to the electorate. MSPs need to catch up with public opinion, agree on the principle of this legislation and allow it to proceed to Stage 2 for more detailed discussion.”

---ENDS---

Notes to Editors

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Graeme Downie on 07973 3000 184 or at contact@lifedeathchoice.org.uk

Bob Scott of My Life, My Death, My Choice will be giving evidence to the Health & Sport Committee on the morning of Tuesday 3 February at the Scottish Parliament.

My Life, My Death, My Choice

“My Life, My Death, My Choice” is being led by the Humanist Society Scotland and FATE (Friends at the End) specifically to campaign in favour of the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.

About the poll

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Progressive Partnership. Total sample size was 1006 adults. The survey was carried out online between 12th January and 16th January 2015. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 16+).

Further methodological detail can be provided on request.

The question asked and results returned were as follows:

“On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is not at all important and 10 is extremely important, how important an issue is it for you that the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill becomes law?

All

High importance (7-10)

47%

Middling importance (4-6)

31%

Low importance (0-3)

15%

Don’t Know

7%

What is being proposed?

A person who wants to begin the process must:

· Be over 16 years of age

· Be registered as a patient in Scotland

There are three stages being proposed before assisted suicide would be lawful.

· Stage 1: Person must sign a Preliminary Declaration. This can be made by someone who is in good health.

· Stage 2: At least 7 days later, the person must sign a “First Request for Assistance” which must be endorsed by two medical professionals.

· Stage 3: At least 14 days later, the person must sign a “Second Request for Assistance” which must also be endorsed by two medical professionals.

At both requests for assistance, the medical professionals must certify that the person is capable of:

1. Making a decision to make the request,

2. Communicating the decision,

3. Understanding the decision, and

4. Retaining the memory of the decision

Only if all of these barriers are passed will a drug or other substance to end the person’s life be prescribed. A licensed facilitator will be assigned to provide comfort and assistance for the person when they take the drug or other substance prescribed to help them commit suicide.

If the person chooses not to commit suicide with 14 days of the “Second Request for Assistance” then the drug will be taken away, and the person must make a further “Second Request for Assistance”.

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