Politicians in Jersey have voted to advance plans to legalise assisted suicide on the island.
The States Assembly will now debate the issue next year, after members voted 36 to 10 in favour of allowing those over 18 to be helped to kill themselves, or be killed by a doctor, in cases of terminal illness or “unbearable suffering”.
Similar attempts to remove end-of-life protections for the frail and sick are under way in Westminster and at Holyrood.
Speaking in opposition to the Bill, Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf told the Assembly that “vulnerable people will be put at risk by its introduction”.
He added: “at present, those people have our protection, because no one can suggest to them that they have an option to bring about their death”.
vulnerable people will be put at risk
Before the debate, more than ten per cent of doctors on the island signed an open letter to the Health Minister objecting to the move. The letter stated: “We will not participate should this be passed.”
Last month, over sixty members of the House of Lords spoke out against Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill, which seeks to enable those deemed to have less than six months to live to get help to kill themselves.
As expected, her Bill will now move to Committee Stage, but it faces many more hurdles before it can become law. In 2015, a Bill to remove existing safeguards in England and Wales was soundly defeated in the House of Commons by 330 votes to 118.
Liam McArthur MSP is pressing ahead with his plan to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland, with a public consultation on his Bill due to close next month. Two assisted suicide Bills have been defeated in the Scottish Parliament since 2010.