Guernsey’s day will come on assisted dying – campaigners

GUERNSEY is a step closer to assisted dying, local campaigners have said after the Jersey States voted to become the first place in the British Isles to approve in-principle a law change.

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The vote by Jersey politicians on legalising assisted dying was 36 in favour and 10 against.

In 2018 Deputy Gavin St Pier was heavily defeated in the Guernsey Assembly when he laid a motion calling for investigations into a legal regime to permit assisted dying.

Speaking after the vote in Jersey, Deputy St Pier said he was delighted with the Jersey decision and the substantial majority.

‘I thank Jersey’s politicians for being bold enough to follow the evidence and listen to their community.

‘Introducing a regulated regime to allow individuals to make a personal choice will actually improve safeguards for the most vulnerable in the community.

‘By being the first jurisdiction in the British Isles to approve such a change, Jersey has proven that size is no bar.

‘I have always been convinced that this option is an absolutely inevitable development that a clear majority of the community want for themselves and their loved ones.

‘Even if in practice very few people will ever choose to exercise such a choice, most people don’t want others telling them what they can or cannot do for themselves and are comforted knowing this is an option they may be able to access one day, if they ever need and wish to.

‘Guernsey’s day will come and Jersey’s decision today puts that day a step closer.’

Before Guernsey’s assisted dying debate, Sarah Griffith collected more than 1,000 signatures calling for terminally ill people to be given the right to decide when and how their life should end with medical supervision. Yesterday she said she was over the moon with the Jersey result.

‘I think that Jersey has taken the baton after we put it down and they’ve run with it,’ she said.

‘Possibly they were successful because they started the campaign from the ground up and ours was more political. This decision needs to come from the electorate – the politicians in Jersey have listened to the electorate.

‘It’s a huge win, the margin was big, so we now need Guernsey to look at doing exactly the same thing and I will be writing to all deputies and asking them, in light of this news from Jersey, to consider bringing this back.’

A further debate on the issue will be held in Jersey next year, after details of the processes and safeguards have been worked up. If those proposals are backed then a draft law could be discussed and voted on in 2023.

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