Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

The new Scotland Parliament bill to legalize assisted suicide—which I noted in an earlier post, permits disabled or dying teenagers access to “end of life assistance”—clearly includes active mercy killing.  From the bill (no link, my emphasis):

1. Lawful to provide assistance under this Act(1) It is not a criminal offence or a delict for a person (a) to provide end of life assistance in accordance with this Act; or (b) to provide assistance, including assistance by participating in any step required by this Act, to enable another person to obtain or provide end of life assistance in accordance with this Act.
(2) In this Act “end of life assistance” means assistance, including the provision or administration of appropriate means, to enable a person to die with dignity and a minimum of distress....

11. Requirements relating to the actual provision of assistance (1) The end of life assistance must, so far as reasonably practicable, be provided in accordance with the agreement between the requesting person and the designated practitioner.

Note that since the method of killing isn’t specified or limited, it would seem that any method agreed upon by the suicidal person and the killing actor would be legal, theoretically including being shot in the head, so long as it  “allowed a person to die with dignity,” which is in the eye of the dying person, it would seem, and caused “a minimum of distress,” which a bullet to the head would provide. Most wouldn’t want to be shot, of course, but these days, who knows?

And it is very clear that the actual suicide assister/killer need not be the patient’s physician or, for that matter, even a health care practioner:
10 Agreement on provision of assistance (1) Where the second formal request is approved, and before end of life assistance can be provided, the requesting person and the designated practitioner must agree (a) that end of life assistance is to be provided; (b) who is to provide the end of life assistance; (c) on the place where that assistance is to be provided; and (d) on the means by which that assistance is to be provided.

While Secton 11 (6) requires the doctor to be present, he/she clearly need not do the deed.

So, in summary: Under the bill, qualified teenagers can be killed without regard to parental approval, doctors need to OK the euthanasia/assisted suicide but need not perform the act—demonstrating yet again, that euthanasia is not a medical act—and any swift method of killing is okay so long as it is done in private.  Good grief!

Dear Reader,

Your charitable support for First Things is urgently needed before July 1.

First Things is a proudly reader-supported enterprise. The gifts of readers like you— often of $50, $100, or $250—make articles like the one you just read possible.

This Spring Campaign—one of our two annual reader giving drives—comes at a pivotal season for America and the church. With your support, many more people will turn to First Things for thoughtful religious perspectives on pressing issues of politics, culture, and public life.

All thanks to you. Will you answer the call?

Make My Gift

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles