A north-east minister has said it would be “kind” to give people with terminal illnesses the choice to decide the timing of their own deaths.
The Rev Scott Rennie of Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen said many in the clergy were sympathetic to plans to legalise assisted suicide.
The 42-year-old said he was not opposed to changing the law in principle but struggled to see how a regulatory framework could be set up that was “absolutely safe and free from abuse”.
Under the Assisted Suicide Bill proposals, people would have to make requests to their doctor before a facilitator, who had no relationship with the patient, could be given the task of collecting a prescription and agreeing the process.
Mr Rennie said: “All of us who are with people at the end stages of life can see situations where it would be kind to allow assisted suicide but the problem is how do you guarantee that from being free from abuse?
“Modern medicine has made us all live longer, giving people life long after they would have naturally died so I can see there is an argument for saying that the withdrawal of medicine is a choice people are entitled to make.”
The Church of Scotland, Free Church, Catholic Church, Muslim Council of Scotland and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities are all opposed to assisted suicide.
Former Free Church moderator, the Rev Dr Donald MacDonald, said: “Assisted suicide is a deeply divisive and contentious issue and we urge our MSPs to consider the breadth of evidence not just from churches, but also ethicists and palliative care experts who understand what’s at stake.”