Assisted dying debate supported

Thursday April 4th 2019

Michelle Ballatyne

MMichelle Ballantyne MSP speaking in the Scottish Parliament

This week, Michelle Ballantyne MSP secured cross-party support to try to table a Scottish Parliament debate to discuss assisted dying.

The South Scotland politician submitted a motion to MSPs in the Parliament noting that there is “strong public support within the South Scotland region and across Scotland” for changing the current laws to allow people to choose the manner of the their own death.

Mrs. Ballantyne highlighted a 2015 poll from Populus, which indicated that 83% of the public support reforms to the assisted dying legislation.

Currently, there is no law that specifically bans assisted dying in Scotland; however, there have been numerous instances where those who have aided friends or family members, either financially or logistically, have been prosecuted under culpable homicide.

Former nurse, Michelle Ballantyne, has advocated a change in legislation and has sought cross-party support to try to prompt the Scottish Government into changing the law around assisted dying. She highlights case studies from Canada, Australia and the USA where assisted dying has been made available in certain areas.

During the BBC’s Debate Night television show, Mrs. Ballantyne raised the issue. Co-leader of the Scottish Greens, Alison Johnstone, agreed that changes to the legislation were necessary.

Mrs. Ballantyne’s motion has already received cross-party support from multiple SNP politicians, as well as members of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. It is expected that the Scottish Greens will support the motion shortly.

She is also the convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Assisted Dying.

Michelle Ballantyne highlighted that her background as a nurse affirms her belief in the right to assisted dying, and hopes that she can help bring forward a change to the legislation.

Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:

“Having been a nurse for many years, I feel very strongly that you should be able to choose the manner of your own death.

“I have spoken to many people in Midlothian regarding this, I feel as though the majority of people will agree with me about this issue, regardless of your political persuasion.

“You only need to look at countries like Canada and Australia where they have effective legislation which means that legally consenting adults can have a choice about how they end their lives.

“I’m encouraged that there appears to be support for this among all parties in the Scottish Parliament. I hope to work with other MSPs in order to hopefully bring forward a change in legislation.”

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