Isle of Man warned ‘euthanasia slippery slopes are real’

The Isle of Man must not become a “death island” by legalising euthanasia, a top lawyer has warned.

Speaking to members of Tynwald’s lower Branch, the House of Keys, legal medical specialist Charles Foster gave evidence that MHK Alex Allinson’s Assisted Dying Bill would be open to legal challenge at the European Court of Human Rights, regardless of any amendments.

Manx politicians voted on Tuesday in favour of amendments which would make euthanasia and assisted suicide available to adults who are not expected to live beyond twelve months, and have been resident on the island for at least five years.

Palliative care

Foster warned that removing any end-of-life protections may breach the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects everyone’s “right to life” and public safety. In addition, he said it could be against the right to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” if medics are required to refer people for euthanasia.

Highlighting international evidence, the lawyer said “the slippery slopes which people warn about are real”.

He explained that “the evidence suggests that if doctors are licensed to kill that affects the way that patients, particularly at vulnerable stages of their lives, are able to trust their doctors”.

the slippery slopes are real

“You will struggle to find a palliative care physician anywhere in the world who supports assisted dying, because it is not necessary. If palliative care is properly in place, the worries which are expressed on all placards of unbearable suffering just don’t happen.”


During the debate, Chief Minister Alfred Cannan announced that he would bring forward an amendment that could put the proposals to a public vote.

He told his colleagues that there “comes a time and a place when the people need their say”.

After the Bill completes its Clauses Stage, it is expected to undergo a Third Reading in the summer.

No safeguards

Earlier this year, Canadian campaigner Alex Schadenberg warned the Manx people against giving assisted suicide a foothold.

Speaking at an event in Douglas, the Executive Director of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition shared how so-called safeguards to Canada’s law are unravelling.

Mr Schadenberg told Manx Radio that under Canada’s assisted suicide law, a person originally had to be terminally ill to access assisted suicide, but it was soon “declared to be a form of discrimination”.

He explained: “Once it was legalised the argument was, ‘Well, what about the person who’s going through chronic pain, but are not terminally ill, why can they not have it?’”

Also see:


Isle of Man survey shows 3 in 4 doctors against euthanasia Bill

Study: Irish medical students support assisted suicide, but don’t want to be involved

MPs champion a society of ‘hope and value’ over assisted suicide

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