Assisted dying bill gets first reading in Isle of Man parliament

  • Trevor Moore, Chair of 'My Death, My Decision'

A bill, which would give terminally ill people in the Isle of Man the choice to end their own life, has had its first reading in the island's parliament.

The 'Assisted Dying Bill' was brought to the House of Keys by Ramsey MHK Dr Alex Allinson.

Members of the 'My Death, My Decision' campaign group met at a public meeting to discuss the issue, including the Chair of the UK branch, Trevor Moore.

He said: "We think it's critical that people can decide if and when they are suffering to end their life and end that suffering, rather than just having a protracted existence as some would describe it".

"We think it's important to look around to other jurisdictions that have their own legislatures to see how things are moving and we now have the Isle of Man, Scotland and Jersey all looking at possibly introducing an assisted dying law.

"Whereas in Westminister we are dragging our heels a bit, although there is a Health and Social Care Committee inquiry going on into the topic."

Assisted dying is also being debated by politicians in Jersey. Credit: ITV Channel

What is assisted dying?

Assisted dying is where a person suffering from a terminal illness or incurable condition is helped to take their own life, after requesting drugs provided by a doctor for the purpose.

Assisted dying is lawful in Switzerland and the Netherlands.

However, there has been opposition to the introduction of the bill.

A recent public consultation found 49.61% of people disagreed with the principle of assisted dying, with 49.01% agreeing with it.

Some medics in the island have described the findings as a 'democratic rejection'.

Manx Duty of Care said the results showed how "legalising assisted dying in the Isle of Man would create more problems than it solves" and said the plans should now be "dropped completely".

Tynwald, the Isle of Man's parliament. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

The bill will have its second reading in October, followed by a debate in Tynwald.

If it continues through the legislative procedure, it will then be assessed by the Legislative Council next year before any final decision will be made.

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