Jersey Assembly votes for humane right to die law

Jersey’s States Assembly today approved a proposal to change the law on assisted dying for adult islanders with terminal or incurable conditions, who have a clear and settled wish to end their lives. Channel Islands Humanists, part of Humanists UK, which campaigns for a right to die for those with terminal or incurable illnesses, praised the debate and welcomed the positive steps taken by Jersey’s State Assembly.

The assisted dying proposal accepted today reflects recommendations made by Jersey’s Citizens’ Jury on the subject which took place earlier this year. This landmark decision will lead to a further debate next year when the process and safeguards around such a law will be presented for consideration. This could then result in Jersey becoming the first part of the UK and Crown Dependencies to recognise an individual’s right to die on their own terms.

An amendment tabled by Deputy Kirsten Morel to delay the debate on proposals to take place by October 2022, with draft legislation available for debate by the end of March 2023 was also supported.

The proposal was passed by 36 votes in support to 10 against and the majority of States members spoke in support of assisted dying. This included Jersey’s Chief Minister John Le Fondré and Deputy Louise Doublet who confirmed her support for the proposal as she ‘believes each individual human being has an absolute right to make decisions about their own life as long as this does no harm to others’. Ms Doublet also thanked Humanists UK and Channel Island Humanists for their work and support on this issue.

Humanists UK Assisted Dying Campaigner Kathy Riddick commented:

‘This considered and respectful debate has shown that there is a will in Jersey to afford freedom of choice to those with terminal illness or who are incurably suffering.’

‘The next stage of how this law can be enacted, making sure the correct safeguards are in place will be undertaken with the same level of consideration, showing that Jersey is ready to spearhead this significant change and hopefully set the standard for the rest of the UK and Crown Dependencies to follow suit’