Isle of Man public almost evenly split on assisted dying law consultation

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A public consultation on assisted dying on the Isle of Man saw the results almost evenly split between those for and against a change in the law.

Just under half (49.61%) of the responses disagreed that assisted dying should be permitted for terminally ill adults, while 49.01% agreed that it should.

There was a total of 3,316 responses and 1.08% said they were not sure, with 0.30% not answering that specific question.

Of the rest, 26.85% did not answer that question while 2.62% said no and the rest said they were not sure.

The consultation results summary stated that there was a large number of responses praising the current provision of palliative care services on the Isle of Man.

Dr Alex Allinson, who introduced the Private Members’ Bill in June last year, said any change in the law would need to be done in a “safe, reassuring way so that personal choice can be respected”.

He said: “I have been overwhelmed by the support for these proposals and the devastating stories of suffering at the end of life and examples of how the law is simply not working for many dying people on our island.

“On the other side of the debate people have shared heartfelt moral and ethical views on why they do not agree with assisted dying and expressed fears for what could happen if the law changed.

“Clearly, we need to find a way to modify the existing law in a safe, reassuring way so that personal choice can be respected and suffering reduced without unduly impacting those who would not want to make use of this option themselves.”

He said the consultation responses would be taken into account in the drafting of legislation and “further public discourse and parliamentary scrutiny will be welcomed”.

She added: “Longstanding ideological opponents of assisted dying will continue to scaremonger and attempt to influence the debate, because they fear the inevitable progress towards law change.

“Yet opinion polls have shown the Manx public to be highly supportive of assisted dying for terminally ill adults, much in line with the UK public.

“It’s over to Tynwald (the Isle of Man parliament) to debate proposals that command the support of the Manx people and find a way forward that gives choice and protection for dying islanders.”

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