Assisted suicide comprehensively rejected in Guernsey

Guernsey will review its end-of-life care, including increasing palliative support, after politicians on the island rejected assisted suicide.

Deputies on the island comprehensively voted against looking into legalising assisted suicide, after a passionate three-day debate.

Ahead of the vote, former Paralympic star Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson had warned that such a move risked making disabled people “collateral damage”.

Quality of life

On Friday afternoon, deputies voted 26-11, 24-14 and 22-16 against a series of pro-assisted suicide proposals.

However, a bid to investigate “measures necessary to improve quality of life and health outcomes for all islanders towards the end of their lives” was passed by 37-1.

Pro-life campaigners rejoiced at the news, while supporters of assisted suicide said they would return in years to come.

True dignity

Care for Life Guernsey called on islanders to “come together as a community to improve end-of-life care”, and give ‘true dignity’.

Peter D Williams, of Right to Life UK, said on Twitter that he was “delighted that the States of Guernsey had such a thorough debate & made such an ultimately wise choice”.

But Guernsey’s pro-assisted suicide group wrote: “Part two of our campaign will begin around the time of the next elections in 2020 when voters can hold politicians to account. We will be bigger, better and louder.”

No safe assisted suicide

During the public debate on the issue, Baroness Grey-Thompson warned there was “no safe law for assisted suicide”.

She added: “If there was a state approved means to obtain assistance to end life, on a bad day, or on a low ebb, it really wouldn’t take much for disabled people to consider that the people they love might be better off without them.”

The Chairman of Guernsey’s oldest residential care home also warned about the dangers of legalising assisted suicide, and the island’s Policy and Resources Committee refused its support.

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