Assisted Dying in Scotland

“Faith leaders in Scotland have met in Holyrood to voice their opposition to proposals which would allow assisted dying in Scotland. The Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church and the Scottish Association of Mosques all took part in the event in the Scottish Parliament.” (

The Humanist Society Scotland said, “The question arising from this event for MSPs and wider society is why the views of three senior clerics should take precedence and block the rights of others to a choice that meets their beliefs on life and death in their final hours.”

What weight should their opposition be given, when it currently represents three decidedly minority groupings? 

A spokesman for the Scottish Catholic Church told The Times that the Catholic Church in Scotland faces what he called a “perfect storm” of challenges, including declining attendance. Figures are hard to come by! 

As it stages its annual General Assembly, the Church of Scotland trustees have warned that it will have to close hundreds of churches in the coming years. About 60,000 currently attend on a Sunday. 

According to the 2001 census, there are around 42,000 Muslims in Scotland, which has a population of 5,200,000. (0.8%)

A 2023 YouGov poll shows that in Scotland 37% totally support assisted dying whereas 5% totally oppose. 36% tend to support, whereas 10% tend to oppose. The total ‘support’ level is therefore 73%, and the ‘oppose’ level is 15%. The time has come for the prevailing view to be recognised, accepted and appropriately acted on.

2 responses to “Assisted Dying in Scotland”

  1. What a culture makes of complex theological and philosophical matters such as the sanctity of life, medically assisted death, abortion etc are important questions. Is a poll the best means of promoting the matter of assisted dying? “Tend to support”, Tend to oppose” are fairly vague categories. WE are not dealing in such a poll with a precise understanding of what is involved simply a tendency. One person’s understanding of what assisted dying means is likely to differ from another’s. WE note how in Canada the range of those who qualify for MAID is now far beyond what was originally intended-with reasons such as loneliness and mental depression- regarded as adequate. I certainly do not support assisted dying on such a basis or others. One can see with increasing pressures on the heath service plenty of politicians would welcome the introduction. THe intervention then of ” senior clerics” and the arguments they contribute should then be seen as welcome sharpeners of the debate to the general vague tendencies of people answering poll questions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Polling, even when consistent in its results, is of course not “the best means of promoting assisted dying”. I have, as you know, Alan, in the course of various blogs etc, set out a wide variety of arguments in support of assisted dying, including one based on a personal family experience of, in my view an unnecessarily cruel, protracted, painful and distressing death. Consistent polling is one factor that, to me, should be noted and taken account of by MSPs who are elected to represent their constituents and the views they are known to hold.
      What is decided in Canada is a matter for that nation. The draft Scottish Bill applies only to terminally ill patients with a short expectation of life. Any extension to that would require further legislation which, like the current bill, would have to face opposition. If we value democracy, we need to accept the decisions which our parliaments make, whether we think them helpful or harmful. Brexit comes to mind.
      I have no problem with “senior clerics” freely expressing their opinions. These do not however, arguably as at one time would have been the case, carry any special authority or particular weight, nor do they speak for all their members. It’s noteworthy, I think, that there is a Religious Alliance for Dignity in Dying which includes Anglicans, Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, Liberal and Reform Jews and even Sunni Muslims.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: