assisted suicide bill, Scotland. access for children again in the spotlight


If assisted suicide proposals lead so quickly to calls for children to be considered for assisted suicide, then who could possibly be fully safe under such a regime?

The Scotsman Newspaper is once again covering the idea of access to assisted suicide for minors as a bill passes through a committee in Holyrood, the nation's parliament.

We reported on this development in mid-June this year and later a retraction based upon a statement from the spokesman from the childrens'charties coalition. 'Together'. It seems, now, following on from this report by Peter Kearney (which includes citations from Together's submission to the parliament) that the supposed denial fo the call for children to be incluided within the scope of the poposed new law was more about damage control than a correction fo fact.

From the article:

In its submission to MSPs on the Assisted Suicide Bill by the group known as "Together" - which includes Save The Children, Barnardo's and Children 1st among its members - suggests that the health and sport committee, which is dealing with the assisted suicide proposals, "reflects on international examples of comparable legislation, such as the recent amendment to Belgium's 2002 euthanasia law".

In doing so, they indicate support for the lower age limit of 16 to be removed from the existing bill and for children to be allowed to ask for assisted suicide whenever they are judged mature enough.

They actually say in their submission, that "the health and sports committee should note that terminal illnesses do not discriminate based on the age of a person and, accordingly, neither should health care", adding, "… a child who is capable of forming his or her own views should be assured the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child.

"The views of a child must be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity."

Once again we see here an attempt to classify assisted suicide and euthanasia as 'health care'. Perhaps, given the name of the committee, it is also becoming a 'sport'!

Kearney comments:

Apart from the novel idea of describing the process of putting someone to death as "health care" these are truly chilling words. These organisations established to defend and protect children appear to be doing the exact opposite.

When they suggest that MSPs should "reflect on international examples of comparable legislation, such as the recent amendment to Belgium's 2002 euthanasia law", we are entitled to ask how such sentiments can be described as related in any way to child protection.

Citing a further committee submission, one can not avoid the observation that there are those (there are always those) who see the acceptance of a law for killing or for assisting people to suicide as simply the first step:

In its submission to MSPs, the Mason Institute, based at the University of Edinburgh and located within the School of Law, says: "While the age limit of 16 might be appropriate now, future reviews of the legislation should consider whether those under 16 who can exercise their autonomy should also be allowed to make use of the law.

As Wesley Smith often questions: Slippery Slope? What Slippery Slope?