'My dad would have chosen assisted death if it was legal'

Robert Easton - a former firefighter - died in June 2021 in a hospice of pancreatic cancer.

Scottish assisted dying campaigner says father would have chosen that option iStock

A campaigner has said her father would have chosen to end his life with assisted dying had it been legal.

Robert Easton – a former firefighter – died in June 2021 in a hospice of pancreatic cancer after considering taking his own life.

His daughter, Joanne, is now a campaigner backing the push by Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur to legalise the practice for people who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses.

Speaking at a fringe event held during the Scottish Lib Dem conference in Hamilton on Friday, Ms Easton said she and her boyfriend had helped her father by researching ways he could take his own life.

“Terminally ill people have to look their mortality in the eye every single day,” she said.

“They should be able to have choice over the manner and timing of their passing.

“If assisted dying had been legal, my dad would have chosen that path, he would have.”

The Bill, which is yet to be introduced at Holyrood, would allow for a person diagnosed with a terminal illness to end their life after consultation with two doctors, while all deaths would be recorded and reported for safety, monitoring and research purposes.

A consultation on the legislation earlier this year boasted more than 14,000 responses, with Mr McArthur saying 76% of them were supportive of the change.

The Bill’s introduction – which is due early next year – will be the third time an attempt has been made for such legislation to be passed.

Speaking at an event where several attendees recounted their own personal stories of dealing with terminal illness, Ms Easton said: “Terminally ill people shouldn’t be forced into the woods with a length of rope – which is what my dad was thinking of doing.

“Terminally ill people shouldn’t need to jump in front of trains.

“Terminally ill people shouldn’t need to estimate the best type and quantity of drugs that would kill them.”

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