End of Life Assistance Bill terminated

After a prolonged debate since its introduction by Margo MacDonald MSP in January 2010, the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill was rejected by the Scottish Parliament on 1 December 2010.

The Bill's explanatory memorandum summarised it thus:

4. The Bill is concerned with providing persons with a choice at the end of life. It is about ensuring that persons who meet the Bill’s eligibility conditions and who find their lives ntolerable can have the dignified death they desire.
5. The Bill details those persons eligible to apply and specifies the criteria to be met.
6. The Bill includes detailed requirements designed to ensure that vulnerable people are not coerced into seeking an assisted death.
7. The Bill enables eligible persons to receive assistance to bring about the end of their life.  The Bill provides a detailed process with systematic checks and safeguards applying to both those assisting the person and the person making the request. If these processes are followed then the person will be able to receive an assisted death and those who have assisted will not have committed a criminal offence or a delict.

The Special Committee which had been set up to consider the Bill recommended in a report that the Bill be not proceeded with; and the Parliament duly so decided after a debate, by a majority of 85 to 16 with two abstentions.

Margo MacDonald has indicated that if re-elected at the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May 2011 she will bring another version of the Bill back before the Scottish Parliament.