Margo MacDonald is the only Independent MSP in the Scottish Parliament. For many years she was a member of the SNP but after internal rows she departed and stood as an Independent.
Margo MacDonald suffers from Parkinson's disease and yesterday, in the Scottish Parliament, she unveiled her The End of Life Assistance Bill after months of consultation.
"Dying is a part of living, it's the last act of your life and if we accept the responsibility of how we live our lives, then I really fail to see where there is any demarcation of how we should die.
"This Bill is meant to try and redress that unfairness, to give those people the autonomy to exercise some control over how they die, to give them the legal right to seek assistance and to protect the people who give assistance."
Terminally ill or severely disabled patients as young as 16 will be able to seek help to end their lives in Scotland under the proposals in the Bill and it would make Scotland the first country in the UK to legalise assisted suicide. The person must have been registered with a GP in Scotland for at least 18 months, two formal requests must have been made and approved by the medical practitioner and they must have a meeting with a psychiatrist.
Ms MacDonald said the Bill did not apply to people with dementia because they would not be able to go through the process unless they were "in full control of their faculties."
At present in Scotland anyone helping another person to commit suicide can be prosecuted for culpable homicide and to avoid ending up in court they would have to travel to a country such as Switzerland where it is not an offence.
The Catholic Church vows to block the Bill saying 'the legislation would cross a moral boundary that no society should ever breach."
MSPs and Scottish government ministers will be allowed a free vote on the Bill.
The journey of this Bill will certainly encourage debate on an issue which many choose to ignore. Once you retire and have attended a few funerals of your peers, it's inevitable you look towards your own end and the effects a terminal illness or permanent incapacity could have upon your family and yourself. With my own father I watched his pain and suffering during his last months in Dundee hospice where he died of prostate cancer. After that experience I will never be convinced that pain can be relieved to any great degree no matter what experts tell me.
I have yet to read the Bill in any real depth, but having listened carefully to the debate so far, I would support Margo's proposals.
Word of this Bill has even reached deepest England where Dick Puddlecote makes his contribution.
Source along with others.