Jersey approves assisted dying in principle in first for Britain
Jersey looks set to become the first place in Britain to approve assisted dying after a landmark vote by the island’s States Assembly.
Law-makers supported a proposal that people should, in principle, be allowed to choose to die.
The vote – held after a citizens jury strongly recommended a law change - now paves the way for Jersey’s Council of Ministers to draft new legislation on the matter.
As a British Crown Dependency, Jersey is able to legislate on the issue independently from Westminster.
The vote on Thursday morning came amid overwhelming public support for assisted dying to be legalised: some 90 per cent of islanders agree that terminally ill adults should be allowed to chose to die as long as they are mentally competent.
Just three per cent believed that Jersey should wait for London to act first on the issue.
Paul Gazzard, a St Helier resident whose husband Alain du Chemin died of brain cancer in May, welcomed the vote. Alain himself had contributed personal testimony to to the citizens’ jury.
“I am delighted that States Members have chosen today to stand with terminally ill people and their loved ones and reject the ban on assisted dying,” he said. “I was touched that several speeches referred to Alain; he would have been honoured to have played a part in this historic moment.
“The current law in Jersey meant that Alain was denied the right to die on his own terms at home, forcing us to try to arrange an assisted death abroad in the middle of a pandemic. This sapped time and energy when both were in short supply, taking a toll at an already difficult time. To have had the option of assisted dying in Jersey alongside end-of-life care would have saved us both so much stress and anxiety in his final months.”
Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, which campaigns across the British Isles for a law change to allow assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults, said: “Today is a victory for common-sense and compassion.”
She added: “The States Assembly has listened to the public and the clear mandate given to them by the citizens’ jury to fix this broken law. This historic vote paves the way for the first assisted dying legislation for British citizens, moving at long last away from a cruel and outdated status quo that denies dying people choice and forces them to suffer against their wishes.”
John Bellamy Comments:
I totally support the belief that we should all be allowed governance over the termination of our own lives if and when the time is right to end suffering through pain. I do not believe it is right to terminate life if you are depressed, lonely, had a row with your lover or lost your job or any other reasons as there is always therapy and as my Mother always said - ' When a door is slammed in your face, God will always open a window somewhere for you. '
I nursed and cared for a terminally ill fiend many decades ago and he died in my arms after a 5 month period where his health sank and he was in pain and - ' assisting was the humane, the sensible and the kindest thing a friend could do for a friend ' - and these were the words from his own doctor to me at the time, and as amazed as we both were for the support and encouragement from the doctor, who then prescribed the correct drugs and even told us how to administer in a thoughtful and loving manner.
It was the most obvious thing for me to offer to do, - the most obvious thing a friend could help with - and while my friends back in the UK thought I was insane, as I stated,-
'I would hope there was someone there for me at the end, for as a gay man with no kids, many die alone and a friend there to offer support and love is all that is needed to make the journey easier and more loving. '
Too many are left in fear and awful pain and as much as they claim to have pain management under control these days it does not always work and what is the point in being kept pain free but doped up to the eye balls and where you are bed bound and drugged to the hills ? There are no miracle cures coming out of the woodwork - There is no hope of a recovery of any kind and death is the only outcome for many through various illnesses and keeping someone alive so they can die of ' Natural Causes; ' - brought about through Cancer, Aids or anything - is CRUEL, and we would NEVER - EVER - allow our pet dog or cat to just linger on and on in pain and anguish, beseechingly looking at us for help and we DO NOTHING ?? People would look at you and call you cruel and ban you from owning animals in future.
To sit and watch as a loved one is racked in pain. Be with a friend beseechingly looking up at you for help and you can do nothing. Old and young, death will get us all in the end and if my life is racked in pain and there is no hope of a miracle cure, then I demand the right to do what is needed to end my pain and no judge, no lawyer, no politician and most certainly no fucking priest is going to tell me I have no right over my own body and my own soul if and when the time comes to end my life.
No God would want to watch a person suffer.
For those who believe there is a God and S/He gets kicks out of watching us suffer, then there cannot be a truly loving and caring God and there is no humanity left in the soul of people and all that is left is cold, calculating horror in the excuse of people.
Go to African countries torn apart by wars, famine and drought and tell the starving dying children that they have to suffer until death grabs them from hunger and malnutrition as the world watches, and although some efforts are made, thousands die painfully and all because of a world with is priorities all fucked up.
We spend millions - nay BILLIONS keeping old people alive WAY beyond the natural order of things and WAY beyond where the quality of life ends and it becomes a chore just to be alive - and waste billions housing, nursing and catering to BIG BUSINESS who make a fortune out of keeping old people - in a kind of comfort - until they croak, and all the while we spend pennies helping the poor and hungry children of the world and let them die - maybe because they are black and - 'over there' - while wasting billions on old people who do not stand a chance of any kind of recovery and are slowly and painfully loosing the battle of life itself. Look at how many people are bed blocking hospitals - too old to go home yet no place for them in a care / nursing home either. Thousands of elderly people who cannot cope alone and where the quality of life ended a long time ago. We have the natural order backwards.
I am delighted Jersey has made this landmark decision and I truly hope the UK looks at this and considering the people who back this - MORE THAN 80% - it is hoped that with good guidance & safety measures put in place, this will soon be adopted here in the UK and we can show the world how progressive, but also how thoughtful and kind hearted we are towards those who wish to end their lives because of pain. Pure and simple.
Hamilton Hall hosted a workshop 12 years ago on Assisted Suicide hosted by an Australian doctor and we hit GLOBAL NEWS ALL AROUND THE WORLD - and to be honest, I didn't like AT ALL what the man was teaching as it was long winded and confusing and there is a much MUCH easier and pain free method that is easy to prepare. I know that if at the end of the day I am terminal and want an easier pain free exit, I know EXACTLY what to do AND SHALL not ask anyone's permission or expect a judge or priest to talk me out of it, as fuck them, what do they know of a persons pain and need to end it, all they know is their own fear of death and how that clouds their judgement.
Further more, I do not believe the religious dogma surrounding suicide AT ALL. It's manipulative bollocks meant to keep us under the control of the church.
My soul belongs to me and God and the church can butt out thanks.