Most election candidates back legal assisted dying
THE majority of Jersey’s election candidates have said they would support legalising assisted dying, after an Islander whose mother plans to end her life at a Dignitas clinic contacted all those vying for a seat in the States.
And on the eve of the election, Tanya Tupper, whose mother, Roberta, was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer just over three years ago and was told that she had just six months to live, issued a clarion call for Islanders to vote for candidates who support bringing in assisted dying in Jersey.
Two weeks ago, Tanya emailed all 77 candidates facing election asking whether they would support assisted dying in Jersey after her mother, Roberta, told the JEP that she was planning to travel to Switzerland – where assisted dying is legal – to end her life.
In total, 58 candidates have now replied to Tanya’s emails, with 52 saying they would be in favour of a move to legalise assisted dying in Jersey.
Three – including Chief Minister Ian Gorst – said they would oppose such a move, three said they were undecided and 19 failed to respond to Tanya in time.
‘I’ve had so many responses from Jersey politicians and election candidates in favour of assisted dying in Jersey – it’s great having that support because it’s so important people get behind this,’ said Tanya. ‘There has also been a lot of support from Islanders on Facebook too.’
Last week, politicians in Guernsey dropped proposals to approve assisted dying in principle – a move which Tanya said was disappointing.
However, new proposals were later lodged and, if approved, they would ask Guernsey’s government to set up a working party to compile a report detailing how assisted dying could be made legal in the island.
Tanya, who is preparing an online pro-assisted-dying petition in Jersey and is also setting up a local pro-assisted-dying group, has in the past few days also received the support of Sarah Griffith – the Guernsey woman who wrote to her island’s Deputies asking them to debate assisted dying.
Assisted dying is the term used to describe helping someone to die who is terminally ill and wants to die. It is different to both euthanasia – where the physician administers the lethal dose – and assisted suicide, which describes helping someone to die who is not terminally ill.
In 2015, a poll conducted by the national campaign charity Dignity in Dying established that, out of those surveyed, 82 per cent of the British public wanted assisted dying to be legalised as an option for terminally ill people.
However, in September that year the UK Parliament overwhelmingly rejected a bill to legalise assisted dying – by 330 votes to 118.
Tomorrow Jersey goes to the polls, and Tanya added: ‘Because there were 118 out of 330 votes in the UK Parliament, it is clear the UK Parliament did not represent the people’s views. Therefore it’s vitally important we make sure our States Members do represent the views of the people in Jersey.’
Anyone who wants to join Tanya’s local group to show their support for the legalisation of assisted dying in Jersey can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you support legalising assisted dying in Jersey?
YES: Geoff Southern, Steve Ahier, Mary Ayling-Phillip, Guy de Faye, Julian Rogers, Anne Southern, Mark Baker, Cliff Le Clercq, Sean Creavy, Rowland Huelin, Tony Pike, Montfort Tadier, Garel Tucker, Samantha Morrison, Philip Renouf, Yann Mash, John McNichol, Linda Dodds, Geraint Jennings, Anthony Lewis, Stevie Ocean, Steve Pallett, Tracey Vallois, Fiona O’Sullivan, Sam Mézec, Jaime Boylan, Tom Coles, Mary O’Keeffe, David Richardson, Nigel Philpott, Phil Maguire, Trevor Pointon, Jason Lagadu, Louise Doublet, Jeremy Maçon, Andrew Le Quesne, Jess Perchard, Kevin Pamplin, Gerard Baudains, Lyndon Farnham, Frank Luce, Moz Scott, Graham Truscott, Susie Pinel, Carina Alves, Bernie Manning, Barry Shelton, Robert Ward, Jacqui Carrel, Inna Gardiner, Mike Higgins and Gregory Guida
NO: Senators Ian Gorst, Sarah Ferguson and Lindsay Ash.
UNDECIDED: John Le Fondré, Kirsten Morel and Cloe Freeman.
FAILED TO RESPOND: Kristina Moore, Mary Le Hegarat, Richard Rondel, Sarah Westwater, Juliette Gallichan, John Le Bailly, David Johnson, Richard Renouf, Isabella Lewis, Russell Labey, Kelly Langdon, Nick Le Cornu, Judy Martin, Scott Wickenden, Simon Brée, Gino Risoli, Gordon George Troy, Kevin Lewis and Hugh Raymond.