Proposals to legalise euthanasia have been launched in the Parliament of the Isle of Man, despite lacking public support.
MHK Alex Allinson’s controversial private member’s Bill would allow people deemed to be terminally ill to get help from doctors to kill themselves.
Results of a public consultation released in April found more responses opposed the removal of end-of-life protections (49.61 per cent), than supported it (49.01 per cent).
A wish to die
The Assisted Dying Bill 2023, which received its First Reading in the House of Keys on Tuesday, would enable someone diagnosed with a terminal illness to seek help to end their lives.
According to the Bill, those asking to die must be over 18, not expected to live beyond six months, have mental capacity, be ordinarily resident on the Island for not less than a year, and have “a clear and settled intention to end their own life”.
Under these criteria, a person will be prescribed lethal drugs to “self-administer”, or they may “request an assisting health professional” to do so.
Activists are already calling some of the so-called safeguards ‘too narrow’.
Conscience and coercion
The legislation does contain a conscience clause, which states: “A person shall not be under any duty… to participate in anything authorised by this Act to which that person has a conscientious objection”.
But medics remain opposed. Following the recent public consultation, Manx Duty of Care – a group of healthcare professionals opposed to euthanasia on the Island – argued that the plans should be “dropped completely”.
GP and group member Dr Graham McAll recently warned that the Bill would “put at risk people who are coerced”, adding it was “incredibly difficult for doctors to spot coercion”.