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Majority of Scots support the legalising of assisted suicide, reveals poll

MORE than two-thirds of Scots back a bid to change the law in Scotland to legalise assisted suicide, a poll claims.

A total of 69% of those questioned said they were in favour of creating an early-warning system that would allow anyone over the age of 16 to inform their GP of their support for the right to take their own life.

It would mean only the terminally ill or people suffering from deteriorating progressive conditions, which make life intolerable, would be able to seek assisted suicide.

Their support could be noted in the person's medical records at any time, but would have to be made at least seven days before they could formally ask for help to end their life.

A two-week delay would then be put in place before a new request would pave the way for the procedure to be carried out. Two qualified medical practitioners would oversee the process to ensure the person was making an informed decision.

The plan is contained in a bill drafted by Lothian MSP Margo MacDonald, who suffers from Parkinson's disease. The proposal has been backed at Holyrood by Patrick Harvie of the Green Party.

The poll of 1000 people - by ­independent organisation My Life, My Death, My Choice, which is being led by the Humanist Society Scotland and the group Friends At The End (Fate) - was set up to uncover Scots' views on the proposals laid out in the bill.

Bob Scott, a spokesman for the campaign, called on MSPs to pay ­attention to the results of the survey, which was carried out by Progressive Scottish Opinion earlier this month, and pass Ms MacDonald's bill as soon as possible.

The poll showed 13% did not agree with the bill, while 18% were unsure, undecided or had no opinion.

Mr Scott said: "This poll result shows there is a large amount of support for the Assisted Suicide Bill in Scotland. Even with the excellent palliative care available in Scotland, a small number of patients are unable to have their intolerable suffering relieved.

"We want to ensure that people are provided with appropriate information to make their own individual choices and, in certain limited circumstances, given assistance to end their life."

The bill is Ms MacDonald's second attempt to change the law to give people the right to die.

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