Legalising assisted dying could ‘put vulnerable at risk’ – BBC News

Giving terminally-ill people on the Isle of Man the right to choose when to die could put the “vulnerable at risk”, a campaigner has said.

Politicians are to be asked to consider legalisation on voluntary assisted dying at January’s Tynwald sitting.

Our Duty of Care (ODC) said a law change could pressurise people to end their lives “prematurely”.

Dr Alex Allinson MHK said the motion was an attempt to gauge political appetite for “progressive reform”.

ODC spokesman Dr David Randall said the island’s “superb palliative care services” allowed people to have “a comfortable and dignified death”.

Isle of Man Freethinkers, who support a right to choose, previously said any debate should be “based on science and compassion”.

‘More compassion’

After giving a presentation to Tynwald members on the issue, Dr Randall said changing the law could put “vulnerable people at risk of suffering real or imagined pressure from others to end their lives prematurely”, adding that the terminally-ill patients have “the same legal protections as everyone else”.

The Roman Catholic Church on the island has also opposed “any liberalisation of current legislation”, with Monsignor John Devine stating in a letter to the chief minister that the church “condemns the deliberate taking of life”.

Dr Allinson said a law change “would allow for more compassion and personal choice when a person’s death is inevitable and imminent.”

“Whilst we have wonderful hospice and palliative care services on the island, there are still those who’s suffering cannot be effectively treated.”

The Isle of Man Medical Society and the Association of Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland have stated their official position is to oppose the legalisation.

A similar bid to change the law was thrown out by members of the House of Keys when the issue was last debated in 2015.


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