Humza Yousaf and Michael Matheson sit in a circle of people on chairs having a discussion. Humza wears a suit and Michael wears a shirt and tie.

Large majority of religious people in Scotland support assisted dying, new poll shows

September 19, 2023

A new poll from Yougov shows that most religious people in Scotland support legalising assisted dying. The evidence, commissioned by Dignity in Dying and gathered during July 2023, reveals that 64% of people who identify with a particular religion support legalising assisted dying. Only 21% oppose the move, with 14% unsure.

These new findings emerge in the wake of Humza Yousaf’s recent hardening of opposition to assisted dying. He stated that this was due to concerns raised by Glasgow Disability Alliance. However, in the past Mr Yousaf has defined his opposition as a “personal” choice. In May this year, three Scottish religious leaders released a statement opposing assisted dying. One of them, Hamza Khandwalla, is the Imam of the Central Mosque in Dundee, where Mr Yousaf lives.

A street scene in Edinburgh Old Town

All three leaders of Scotland’s main political parties have now come out in opposition to assisted dying. All three are men of faith. Yet the new figures show that religion should be no impediment to allowing people a dignified and autonomous death.

Opposition to legalising assisted dying was low amongst members of religious denominations surveyed by YouGov. Amongst Church of Scotland respondents was at 12%, with 73% in support. 25% of Roman Catholics opposed legalising assisted dying while 61% supported it.

All three leaders of Scotland’s main political parties have now come out in opposition to assisted dying. All three are men of faith. Scotland’s Health Secretary, Michael Matheson, a Roman Catholic, has also recently asserted his opposition. Yet the new figures released by YouGov show that religion should be no impediment to allowing people a dignified and autonomous death.

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*Image 1: Michael Matheson and Humza Yousaf meet social care and childcare staff. Scottish Government/Creative Commons. Image 2: PXfuel/Creative Commons.

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