Stage 1 consideration of the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill
On 13 March 2014 the Health and Sport Committee launched a call for written evidence in order to inform its Stage 1 consideration of the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.
The Health and Sport Committee is the lead committee for scrutiny of the Bill. The Justice Committee, given its interest in those aspects of the Bill concerning the police and civil and criminal law, has been designated as a secondary committee.
The Bill would provide a means for certain people who are approaching the end of their lives to seek assistance to end their lives at a time of their own choosing. It would provide protection against criminal and civil liability for those providing such assistance, so long as the processes set out in the Bill have been followed.
There are three stages to the process that a person seeking an assisted suicide would be required to follow: a preliminary declaration, a first request and a second request. There are then a number of provisions concerning the act of suicide itself and the role of licensed facilitators.
The key provisions as stated in the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill and the accompanying documents can be found on the Parliament’s website.
What information is the Committee looking for?
Please address the following questions in your submission:
- Do you agree with the general purpose of the Bill to make it permissible, in the circumstances provided for, to assist another to commit suicide?
- Do you have any views on how the provisions in this Bill compare with those from the previous End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill?
- The Bill precludes any criminal and civil liability for those providing assistance, providing the processes and requirements set out in the Bill have been adhered to. Do you wish to make any comment on this?
- The Bill outlines a three stage declaration and request process that would be required to be followed by an individual seeking assisted suicide. Do you have any comment on the process being proposed?
- Do you have any comment on the provisions requiring that the person seeking assisted suicide must have a terminal or life-shortening illness, or a progressive condition which is either terminal or life-shortening?
- Are you satisfied with the eligibility requirements as regards age, capacity, and connection with Scotland as set out in the Bill?
- Do you have any comment on the roles of medical practitioners and pharmacists as provided for in the Bill?
- Do you have any comment on the means by which a person would be permitted to end his/her life under the Bill?
- Do you have any comment on the role of licensed facilitators a provided for in the Bill?
- Do you have any comment on the role of the police as provided for in the Bill?
- Do you have any comment to make about the Bill not already covered in your answers to the questions above?
How to submit your evidence
Responses should be no more than 2,000 words in total.
Before making a submission, please read our Policy on Treatment of Written Evidence by Subject and Mandatory Committees.
Please send your views on the Bill by no later than Friday 6 June 2014.
Responses should be sent, wherever possible, electronically and in MS Word format to: Healthandsport@scottish.parliament.uk
Hard copy responses may be sent to: Health and Sport Committee, T3.60, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP
All written evidence received may be published by the Parliament and will be treated as a public document. If you wish to submit evidence in confidence or anonymously please read the policy at the link above.
What happens next?
The Committee will be considering those witnesses it wishes to hear oral evidence from in due course, based on a thematic approach to the Bill and also informed by the written evidence received. Stage 1 evidence sessions are likely to take place during November and December 2014.
Should you require alternative formats of this information or further assistance in making a written submission to the Committee, please do not hesitate to contact the clerking team of the Committee.
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