Scottish Assisted Dying Bill published

The Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill has been published today. My Death, My Decision welcomes the bill and urges Scottish politicians to follow overwhelming public opinion by voting in favour of a Bill that will provide a compassionate and dignified end-of-life choice for their citizens. 

The Bill is limited to people who are terminally ill, with an advanced and progressive condition. Recent attempts to change the law in England have been limited to people who have six months left to live or fewer. This Scottish bill does not contain an arbitrary time limit on life expectancy, something we support.

Patients would need to have been a resident of Scotland for at least a year and would need the sign-off of two independent doctors. These doctors must have explained all feasible alternatives to the patient, including pain relief, hospice support and other palliative care packages.

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur is putting forward the Bill. MSPs will be given a free vote.

The Bill has been supported by our colleagues on the Assisted Dying Coalition, Humanist Society Scotland and Friends At The End.

Of the 14,038 responses to the consultation on the Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) legislation, 76% of respondents were fully supportive. Our report recently revealed that 19 people from Scotland had an assisted death at Dignitas since 2002.  

Our supporter, ex-nurse Patricia Donoghue from Glasgow, suffers from PTSD following her husband’s death. Her husband, Kevan, died at age 64 from a rare bile duct cancer. After this shocking diagnosis, Kevan was determined to live and survive the cancer. But he died 18 months later after not eating or drinking for three weeks as a result of his illness. 

Patricia Donoghue from Glasgow, ex-nurse and supporter of My Death, My Decision said:

“We think of Britain as being advanced, but we are not. Leaving people to suffer in the final stages of their lives is far from advanced – it’s cruel. Kevan felt abandoned by God and ultimately by the system that wouldn’t help him leave this world without suffering. He accepted death, but why did he have to suffer like that for three weeks?”

I can’t change what happened to Kevan, but I want it to change for others in the future. People are suffering and having a horrible time of it, all being made worse by this cruel law. You can’t sit on the fence with this issue, it needs to change.”

Trevor Moore, Chair of My Death, My Decision said:

“It’s stories like Patricia’s and Kevan’s that show why Liam McArthur’s assisted dying bill is so badly needed. I urge all Scottish politicians to listen to their story and vote in favour of a compassionate and dignified end-of-life choice. We continue to campaign for the same progress in England and Wales as we have seen in Scotland, reflecting overwhelming public opinion.

Competent adults who are intolerably suffering from incurable conditions  – like locked-in syndrome, or for example paralysed after an accident – deserve the choice of an assisted, dignified death. People like the late brave campaigners Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb. The Scottish Bill excludes many of them by being limited to the terminally ill only. But it is nevertheless welcome in excluding  any arbitrary life expectancy criterion, such as the ‘six months prognosis’ in recent bills in England and Wales.”


Media should contact Nathan Stilwell at or phone 07456200033.

My Death, My Decision is a grassroots campaign group that wants the law in England and Wales to allow mentally competent adults who are terminally ill or intolerably suffering from an incurable condition the option of a legal, safe, and compassionate assisted death. With the support of over 3,000 members and supporters, we advocate for an evidence-based law that would balance individual choice alongside robust safeguards and finally give the people of England and Wales choice at the end of their lives.