An MSP proposing assisted dying laws for Scotland will travel to the US to learn from first-hand experience of the legislation in California.
Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur is expected to introduce the Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill to Holyrood later in the year.
He is the third MSP in history to attempt to pass such legislation, which would see mentally competent adults with a terminal diagnosis given the ability to end their life legally.
Mr McArthur will now lead a cross-party delegation including MSPs from Labour, the SNP and the Tories to speak with legislators, senior doctors, including palliative care physicians, and families with experience of implementing and utilising the American state’s 2016 End of Life Options Act.
The five-day trip will see Mr McArthur joined by the SNP’s Kaukab Stewart, Labour’s Colin Smyth and Miles Briggs from the Conservatives.
Speaking ahead of the trip, Mr McArthur said: “This trip is an opportunity to engage with those with first-hand experience of assisted dying, from the legislators who brought it to fruition, to the doctors who support patients in making their choices, and most importantly the families of those who have been through the process.
“It will also present an opportunity for parliamentarians to see how California has ensured that the option of an assisted death can sit alongside excellent palliative care.
“The End of Life Options Act in California works along similar lines to the Bill I will present to Parliament.
“It is for terminally ill, mentally competent adults only, and has a range of safeguards including self-administration of prescribed medication by the patient themselves.”
He said he hopes the visit will help inform the debate coming up in Scottish Parliament.
Holyrood has previously voted down two other attempt to introduce legislation for terminally ill end-of-life assistance, however Mr McArthur told the PA news agency last month he believes the conditions now “seem to be right”.
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