Dignity in Dying welcomes the commitment from the Government of Jersey to consider assisted dying

Posted On: 
18th February 2019

Dignity in Dying has welcomed the commitment that the Government of Jersey will commission research into end-of-life choices, with the explicit inclusion of assisted dying as one of the issues to be considered.

Last year, the States of Guernsey drew international attention when the island debated assisted dying proposals put forward by Gavin St Pier, the island’s Chief Minister. In today’s statement, Jersey’s Chief Minister John Le Fondré has agreed to undertake research into choice at the end of life and will draw on research done elsewhere in the British Isles on this subject. The Government of Jersey must also look to other parts of the world where assisted dying is safely and legally available, where robust evidence shows that assisted dying law could be crafted to provide that choice to dying people on the island.

Tom Davies, Director of Campaigns and Communications at Dignity in Dying, said:

“It’s great news that the Government of Jersey will be conducting research into this most vital of policy areas. We know that dying people want choice at the end of life just as they have throughout their lives until that point. For too long that choice has been narrowly-drawn, focusing on where someone dies, but not how or when. This is unfair.

“We know that assisted dying laws can be crafted that protect vulnerable people and offer dying people, in their last days and weeks of life, the option of having an assisted death. If 100 million people in the USA, Canada and Australia can be given the right to die on their own terms, it surely can’t be beyond the wit of politicians, whether in Westminster, Holyrood, or the States of Jersey to draft a similar law.

“For too long, lawmakers in Britain have shied away from giving their dying citizens this choice. I hope this research will look beyond the British Isles to those countries that have passed safeguarded laws and see that safe, legal assisted dying is not only a possibility but a moral imperative.”