A citizens’ jury in Jersey has voted in favour of making assisted suicide and euthanasia legal on the island.
Almost four in five of the Citizens’ Jury on Assisted Dying, made up of 23 Jersey residents, were in favour of allowing those over 18 to be helped to kill themselves, or be killed by a doctor, in the case of terminal illness or “unbearable suffering”.
In recent weeks, Bills to remove end of life protections from vulnerable people have been proposed in the House of Lords and at Holyrood.
The panel also recommended allowing a patient to be euthanised if they have signed an advance decision, even if they have lost the ability to provide consent at the time.
However, it could not agree on whether under-18s should be permitted to have an assisted suicide, meaning “further consultation” is required before measures could be extended to “anybody of any age”.
Its recommendations will be followed by a more comprehensive report in September, before the States Assembly then deliberate on whether to pass a law.
the most extreme form of legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia
But Alistair Thompson of Care Not Killing said the measures were “the most extreme form of legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia”, explaining that in its recommendations, the Jury has “held open the door” for assisted suicide to those with chronic conditions, the disabled and those with mental health issues.
England and Scotland
In the House of Lords, Baroness Meacher’s Private Members’ Bill would permit those who are terminally ill and are expected to have six months left to live to get help to kill themselves. Their request would need approval from two doctors and a High Court judge.
And in Scotland, Liam McArthur MSP, supported by pro-assisted suicide groups including Dignity in Dying Scotland (formerly known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) and the Humanist Society Scotland, is also proposing to remove legal protections for vulnerable patients who are terminally ill.
Speaking to The Christian Institute, Dr Gordon Macdonald of Care Not Killing warned this was a “very dangerous development” and one that Scotland should not pursue.