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Guernsey rejects assisted dying proposals

Guernsey rejects assisted dying proposals

Saturday 19 May 2018

Guernsey rejects assisted dying proposals

Saturday 19 May 2018

A ground-breaking proposal to legally allow doctors to help terminally ill islanders to ‘die with dignity’ has been rejected by the States of Guernsey.

The seven politicians behind the proposals said they were disappointed with the results although it was not "entirely unexpected."

Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of Policy & Resources, published the proposal in February. It asked the States to establish a working party which would have spent 18 months creating recommendations for a suitable law.

Religious leaders, campaigners, academics, members of foreign governments and even comedian Ricky Gervais speak out on the issue, shared their view on the issue. 

Shortly after the proposal lost the vote, Deputy St Pier issued a statement. It read: "We believe that a majority of the population do support a change in the law.  However, we live in a representative democracy and our parliamentary assembly, the States of Deliberation, has by majority, made a democratic decision which settles the matter in Guernsey."

Deputy Gavin St Pier

Pictured: Deputy Gavin, President of Policy & Resources, published the proposal to bring in assisted dying in February.

"We, of course, accept that decision," he continued. We remain of the view that this is an inevitable change which in the fullness of time Guernsey will one day adopt.  However, that is matter for our parliamentary successors, not us."

The issue has never been raised in Jersey's States Chamber, nor have the island’s previous Health Ministers sought to legislate on it. Senator Andrew Green – the outgoing Minister – did not express an opinion on the topic during his term, while his predecessor Anne Pryke said that she opposed it. 

Palliative care charity Jersey Hospice have also said that they disapproved of the move, arguing that the focus should be on “the right to die well”, rather than the right to die. 


Pictured: Results from Express's assisted dying poll.

A survey run by Express last month suggested that islanders support assisted dying. More than 1,000 islanders chose to take part in the poll, with 90.6% (954 islanders) stating that they would support assisted dying proposals in Jersey. Just 9.4% - 99 respondents – said that they were against the idea.

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Posted by sara starkey on
'Palliative care charity Jersey Hospice have also said that they disapproved of the move, arguing that the focus should be on “the right to die well”, rather than the right to die.'

Of course we all want to die 'well' though I'd rather use the words The Right To Die As We is a fact that many of us don't want to die in a hospice being administered to. For those of us who wish to die outside the hospice system we should not have to sneak off to Dignitas. I think it is appalling that my husband Andrew (I accompanied him) had to be wealthy enough, savvy enough and 'well' enough to get to Switzerland. We should all have the right to die as we wish in our own country, ideally in our own home with those we love around us.

No way was my husband going to be tended and administered to by strangers in a hospice who would have 'helped' his pain by dosing him up with drugs, eventually so drugged up he might not know who or where he was. Andrew wanted to go out as Andrew, his SELF still intact. And he did. It was a 'good' could have been a 'great' death if we'd not had to flee to another country to get his wish.

Is it really too much to ask for CHOICE....those who wish to linger and go s-l-o-w-l-y so be it. But for the perhaps 80% who wish for change in the law.....let us have our CHOICE too.

Andrew Tyler 1946-2017
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