Assisted dying legislation defeated at Scottish Parliament

27 May, 2015

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed its regret that the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) have rejected the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill, which aimed to create a legal right to a physician-assisted death for the terminally ill. 82 MSPs voted to reject the Bill, while 36 voted in favour.

The BHA has long campaigned for the right to die for both terminally ill and incurably suffering people who have made a rational and uncoerced decision to end their life. In April, the BHA supported the My Life, My Death, My Choice campaign in organising an open letter from 40 public figures pressing for a compassionate assisted dying law in Scotland. It also supported Lord Falconer’s Bill which was separately moving through the UK Parliament.

Commenting on the news, BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said, ‘Today’s result will come as a huge blow for campaigners, as well as for sick and suffering people in Scotland who have sought an assisted death, and it’s a shame that a majority of parliamentarians have ignored their pleas.

‘However, this campaign has been a hugely positive one and as in England and Wales, has clearly connected with a general public. Polls consistently show that four in five individuals in the UK support the right to an assisted death. Individuals who are terminally ill or incurably suffering and have a clear and settled wish to end their life should be able to have that wish fulfilled. We will continue to work hard to make that the reality.’


For further information, please contact Campaigns Manager Richy Thompson on 020 7324 3072.

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on Assisted Dying:

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.