Dr Allinson Seeking to Introduce Right to Die Bill

Ramsey MHK Dr Alex Allinson will seek leave to introduce a Private Member’s Bill that would enable terminally ill people to receive assistance in ending their own lives.

Dr Allinson was also the MHK who, through a Private Members’ Bill, introduced legislation to update the island’s abortion laws.

The Bill itself reads: ‘That leave be given to introduce a Private Member’s Bill to enable adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with specified assistance to end their own life; and for connected purposes.’

Speaking to Gef, Dr Allinson said: ‘Assisted dying describes a process where a healthcare professional is given the right to prescribing life ending drugs for terminally ill, mentally competent adults to administer themselves after meeting strict legal safeguards. Assisted dying is a choice available to over 200 Million people across the world and is  legal and regulated in the US states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

‘In 2017, similar legislation was passed in Victoria, Australia and recent legislation has been passed in Canada and proposed in New Zealand. Across Europe various models of assistance are offered but it remains illegal and a criminal offence across the British Isles. Tynwald first debate Assisted Dying in 2003 and a comprehensive committee report was discussed in 2006.

‘A Tynwald petition in 2014 led to local campaigns and in 2015 The Hon. Juan Watterson attempted to progress a Private Members Bill which was opposed at the time. Opinion polls have consistently shown public support for the right of terminally ill people to have choice regarding their death especially where palliative care is unable to provide relief for suffering.

‘A General Debate in January Tynwald 2020 explored the issue and following legislative moves in England, Scotland and Jersey now is the time to revisit this very important aspect of personal autonomy and choice.’

If permission is granted for the Bill to be introduced, it will likely be a long journey if it is to pass into law with a public consultation being almost a certainty before MHKs and MLCS debate the matter substantially.