Assisted dying: Dignitas accuses UK of outsourcing issue to Switzerland as Scotland debates legalisation

Assisted dying debateAssisted dying debate
Assisted dying debate
The Dignitas organisation has said it is “fully supportive” of plans to legalise assisted dying in Scotland, as it accused UK politicians of “outsourcing this issue” to Switzerland where it has helped hundreds of UK residents end their lives.

The not-for-profit organisation, which provides physician-assisted suicide, complained the legal situation on this in the UK was “inadequate and incoherent”.

With Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur now bidding to change the law in Scotland to permit assisted dying under certain circumstances, Dignitas said his Bill was an “important step forward”.

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However, it still had some “criticism” of Mr McArthur’s proposals – which have now obtained sufficient support from MSPs for a Bill to be brought forward at Holyrood.

A total of 32 MSPs at Holyrood have now given their support to his Bill, with Mr McArthur noting this was “well exceeding the 18 signatures needed” for a member’s Bill.

However, Dignitas said that “for many years, the UK has been outsourcing the issue of assisted dying to Switzerland, thus knowingly violating citizens’ human rights to have this choice at home”.

In its response to the consultation on Mr McArthur’s Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland), Dignitas added that the UK has “so far failed to legislate outright for its own citizens despite the fact that a clear majority of the public has been requesting for this for many years”.

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It said: “With this, close to 500 UK residents, including 16 of Scotland, have been forced to leave their home just because they wished to have legal assisted dying, which they were able to access at Dignitas.”

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