Assisted dying proposals in Jersey lodged – Humanists Comment

The legalisation of assisted dying in Jersey has taken another step as proposals have been lodged in the States Assembly. Channel Island Humanists welcomes the proposals, as another part of the British Isle moves closer to a compassionate end-of-life law.

The proposals will allow residents of Jersey who are intolerably suffering from a physical, incurable condition the right to a dignified assisted death. Channel Island Humanists welcomes the incredibly detailed, evidence-based and compassionate approach that the Jersey government has taken on this issue.

There will now be a nine-week lodging period before a final debate assisted dying on 21 May.

Channel Island Humanists have long campaigned for a compassionate assisted dying law in Jersey. Our chief executive, Andrew Copson, gave evidence to the citizens’ jury on the subject in 2021.

Channel Island Humanists responded to the States Assembly’s consultation on assisted dying last year.

Last year, Channel Island Humanists criticised a report by the then Health Minister that suggested that assisted dying should be limited to people who have six months left to live or fewer. This is despite the citizens’ jury on assisted dying held in 2021 overwhelmingly voting to include these criteria. 70% recommended that it should be available to adults of sound mind, who are either terminally ill or experiencing unbearable suffering, subject to robust safeguards.

This move comes during a massive wave of campaigning across the British Isle, and around the world, on assisted dying. On Wednesday, a report in the Republic of Ireland recommended a change in the law. Next month, a committee will report back to Isle of Man’s parliament, which will subsequently vote on a change of the law.

Last month the UK Health and Social Care Committee released its report on assisted dying. While the report didn’t deliver any conclusions, it laid the foundations for the next parliament to act on this vital issue.

Nathan Stilwell, Assisted Dying Campaign for Humanists UK, said:

‘We welcome these proposals, which will ensure that people who are in pain without any possibility of their suffering being relieved will have the opportunity to have an assisted death on their own terms. We are so impressed by the compassionate, detailed and evidence-based approach Jersey has taken. We are glad to see that politicians listened to the people on this topic, by following the recommendations of the citizens’ jury. I hope politicians around the UK take note.

Overall, this is yet another step in the massively popular campaign to legalise assisted dying. Across the British Isles, people are united in wanting change and not one more person should have to go through an unnecessarily painful death when other countries are repeatedly showing that a more compassionate route is possible.’