'The precedent has been made': Jersey on path to setting up Assisted Dying Service

Jersey politicians made the landmark decision following a long and emotional debate in the States Chamber. Credit: ITV Channel

Jersey politicians made a historic decision on Wednesday as they voted to allow people with terminal illnesses to end their lives with medical help.

However, while States Members supported 'Route 1' of the proposed assisted dying law, they rejected calls for it to also cover people with incurable physical conditions who experience "unbearable suffering" - known as 'Route 2'.

This was a debate of a type rarely seen in the island.

Politicians laid aside politics to discuss a nuanced issue with emotion, compassion and maturity.

Multiple members were in tears at points during their speeches as they raised personal stories to explain their voting intention.

There was also a sense that other parliaments and politicians were watching as Jersey took this next step forward.

We had always expected that 'Route 2' would fall but that does not mean it will not return.

Health Minister Deputy Tom Binet told me straight after the debate that he expects it will become part of the law down the line.

In the meantime, we expect the draft primary legislation for 'Route 1' to be ready in around 18 months with another vote expected before the end of 2025.

That will be the moment when those same representatives decide whether to take the final step and approve the law.

But the precedent has been made, Jersey has set itself on the path to becoming the first place in the British Isles to legalise assisted dying.

It will, barring a major reversal, become a right for Jersey residents with terminal illnesses to end their lives with medical help.

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