He said he wants to “give dying people who are suffering unbearably more choice at the end of their life and the peace of mind that they do not need to suffer against their will.”
The consultation cited Canadian findings which estimated that expanding assisted suicide in Canada would save millions of dollars per year. It would free hospital beds and medical resources for others, advocates said.
Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer in an October 2020 report projected that the then-existing assisted suicide law would result in some 6,400 deaths and $66.14 million in U.S. dollars saved. A proposed expansion of legal assisted suicide, later passed in March 2021, would result in $46.8 million in savings in 2021 from about 1,100 more deaths by suicide. The Canadian report noted that this latter figure represented a very small percentage of total provincial health care, about 0.08%.
The Canadian report was written simply as an economic and financial analysis. The authors said the report “should in no way be interpreted as suggesting that (medical aid-in-dying) be used to reduce health care costs.”
More in Europe
However, McArthur has said savings in Scotland from legalizing assisted suicide could be invested in better palliative care.
Macdonald was deeply critical of the cost analysis.
“These are utterly sinister revelations and show a callous indifference for the value of human life,” he told The Times. “We have warned for years about the dangers of assisted suicide legislation and these proposals really do let the cat out of the bag. The ordinary men and women of this country will be astounded by the stark and uncaring reality of such legislation.”
“The emphasis of these brutal proposals is on telling people that they are costing too much to stay alive and would save the country substantial amounts by being put to death,” he said. “To add insult to injury they do not even merit a face-to-face consultation with a doctor who will decide by Zoom or something similar that individuals should be given the go-ahead for assisted suicide and then pop some deadly drugs in the post to enable them to do so.”
Scotland’s Catholic bishops are urging opposition, warning that the government ought to “prevent suicide, not assist it.”
“Over the last eighteen months society has been reoriented to protect the most ill and vulnerable in response to the pandemic,” Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, an agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said Sept. 22. “Legalizing assisted suicide moves in the opposite direction.”
The Church of Scotland, an ecclesial community, also opposes assisted suicide.
(Story continues below)
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Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services’ Egan Journalism Fellowship.