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'Many issues' found with Isle of Man assisted dying bill

Assisted Suicide
25 April 2024
Hospital uk

A report on the Isle of Man's Assisted Dying Bill, which proposes to allow terminally ill residents to end their lives, has “raised as many issues as its solved”, according to Chief Minister Alfred Cannan.

The Bill's 14 clauses were scrutinised by a committee of Members of the House of Keys (MHKs), recommending several amendments, such as extending the life expectancy criterion from six to 12 months.

During a debate in the House of Keys, MHK Alfred Cannan expressed worries that the Bill could pave the way for future expansions of the law.

However, Alex Allinson MHK, the sponsor of the Bill, emphasised that the legislation was strictly for terminal illnesses, contrasting with broader laws in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Canada.

The committee, including MHKs Allinson, David Ashford, Michelle Haywood, Rob Callister, and Health Minister Lawrie Hooper, also suggested extending the residency requirement from one to five years and defining the cause of death as assisted dying, with the terminal illness being secondary.

The report received unanimous support and raised significant concerns regarding the impact on health services in terms of costs and logistics and on medical staff recruitment and retention.

Further amendments are anticipated in the upcoming formal debate scheduled for May, including a proposal by Minister Hooper for an opt-in register for medical staff which would support the conscientious objection clause.

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Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

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