AN AYRSHIRE MSP has given her support to proposed new legislation on assisted dying in Scotland.

Elena Whitham, who represents Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, has said she supports the bill lodged at Holyrood by Orkney MSP Liam McArthur.

Published on March 27, the bill would "allow terminally ill adults in Scotland, who are eligible, to lawfully request, and be provided with, assistance by health professionals to end their own life".

Ms Whitham has previously spoken about how her own mother suffered from terminal lung cancer.

The bill states: "A terminally ill adult who is eligible may, on request, be lawfully provided with assistance to end their own life.

"Such assistance is lawfully provided if it is provided in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

"For the purposes of this Act, a person is terminally ill if they have an advanced and progressive disease, illness or condition from which they are unable to recover and that can reasonably be expected to cause their premature death."

Ms Whitham said: "Like 75 per cent of my constituents in Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley, I support changing the law on assisted dying.

"As a humanist and a daughter who watched her mother suffer with terminal lung cancer, with no other option but to starve herself, this belief is core to my humanity."

Mr McArthur said: “This Bill contains robust safeguards, similar to those which have been safely and successfully introduced in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States, where they continue to enjoy strong public support.

“Our current laws on assisted dying are failing too many terminally ill Scots at the end of life.

“Polling has consistently shown overwhelming public support for assisted dying, and now I believe that politicians are catching up with where the public has been for some time.”

Some elements of the Bill, such as the regulation of medication used to end the lives of those who request it, may require consent from Westminster as they touch on reserved areas of the law.

Fraser Sutherland, chief executive of the Humanist Society Scotland, said: "We know from the extensive testimony gathered from both the public and health professionals during the pre-bill consultation that too many people in Scotland suffer a bad death needlessly.

"Many compassionate alternatives have proved effective overseas, and it's time for the same humanity to be extended to people in Scotland.

"We hope MSPs will look at the overwhelming evidence that supports the introduction of assisted dying in Scotland.

"We also hope they will reject the fearmongering 'slippery slope' arguments put forward by religious opponents to this bill, who offer no answers for those who suffer needlessly.

"The bill is moderate, rational, and compassionate. It has substantial safeguards baked in, based on what has worked in other countries. These should alleviate concerns like those raised by MSPs during previous attempts to change the law.

"Assisted dying should be available to terminally ill people in Scotland, not just those that can afford to access services overseas."

You can view the full proposed legislation, which will be subject to a vote among MSPs at an as-yet-unspecified future date, at the Scottish Parliament website.