"Unprecedented response" to public consultation on Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults Bill proposals

The public consultation initiated by Liam McArthur, MSP for Orkney, on his proposal for a new Members Bill which seeks to change the law on assisted dying for terminally ill adults in Scotland has received an unprecedented number of responses for a Scottish Parliament consultation on a Members Bill.

The consultation, which closed yesterday 22 December 2021, detailed the proposals for a bill seeking to legalise assisted dying as a choice for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in Scotland. The Scottish Parliament Non-Government Bills Unit is now working alongside Liam McArthur MSP to process the consultation outcome.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

"I am grateful to everyone who took the time to submit their views on my proposals for ending the blanket ban on assisted dying in Scotland. I am especially grateful to all those who recounted deeply personal and often harrowing experiences which cannot have been easy to recall.

"The level of response has been unprecedented and shows that assisted dying is an issue that matters to people across the country. While it will take some time to validate and process responses, it appears there is strong support for a change in the law and a desire to see the Scottish Parliament take action.

"A range of views have been expressed in the responses with a number of suggestions made. These will all now be considered carefully, and I intend to publish all responses where I have permission to do so. A summary of the responses will be prepared and published, and I will then seek the support required from other MSPs to introduce a bill in the Parliament. It is especially important that we get this legislation right in terms of both compassion and safety and the public consultation was the first stage in this process.

"When I launched the proposals earlier this year I said that how we die is an issue for our whole society and that the consultation was in effect a nationwide discussion on what we need to do to give dying people the help and support they need to have a good death. There is clearly an appetite for that discussion and I look forward to continuing it with the public and within the Parliament over the months ahead."

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