Church of Scotland votes to review opposition to assisted dying

24 May 2023

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland today voted in favour of further ‘theological research’ on the issue of assisted dying, rejecting a motion which would have reaffirmed its opposition.

The debate was prompted by the Assisted Dying Bill currently being brought to the Scottish Parliament by Liam McArthur MSP. In a surprise move, the General Assembly voted decisively against a motion which would have reaffirmed the Kirk’s opposition to assisted dying, instead supporting a motion that calls for new research and thinking on the question.

Commenting afterwards, Mr McArthur said:

“It has long been clear that there is a diversity of viewpoints held by members of different faith communities. So I warmly welcome the General Assembly’s decision to review the Kirk’s position.

“We know that an overwhelming majority of Scots have long been in favour of a change in the current law, which leaves too many people facing bad deaths with inadequate options. My Assisted Dying Bill would work alongside high-quality palliative care to offer a more compassionate choice to those suffering from a terminal illness, subject to strict and rigourous safeguards. I believe this is what Scotland needs.”