Are people afraid to speak out against assisted dying?

Letter to the Editor from Christine Hansford


ALTHOUGH the loudest voices heard are from those who are pro assisted dying, a lot of people are not in favour. I think people are afraid of speaking out against assisted dying/suicide, in case they are thought uncaring.

In fact, this is not true and there is great appreciation of both sides of the situation. My original intention in writing was Chris Blackstone’s letter (JEP 9 February) regarding some statistics. Since then I have read the moving account of Alain du Chemin and my heart does go out to him.

However, if people want to end their life there are a number of ways to do so without involving other people. Obviously a lot of people are already doing so, by taking ‘control’ over how and when they end their life. This is the constant cry from those who are pro assisted dying/suicide. This is happening without a change in the law, which will affect our society as a whole.

It is thought that if we put ‘safeguards’ in place, the road to euthanasia will be prevented. You only have to look at what has happened since the introduction of an Abortion Law in 1967 to stop back-street abortions with ‘safeguards’. The latest step being ‘at home’ abortions with a telephone call and tablets in the post, which have had some serious consequences.

With regard to the statistics in Mr Blackstone’s letter, the Arts Centre only seats 250 people. About 85% of these meetings would have been about 212 people. Mr Blackstone does not say how many people actually completed the survey, but I don’t think it was more than 2,000. Again 85% of this is about 1,700. In a population of 110,000 these numbers are very small, 1,922 approximately. A petition also attracted 1,861 in 2019. All these may also be the same people voting in the different situations – I was at the Arts Centre and I did the online survey. People should not be fooled by statistics.

I hope that the people on the Citizens’ Jury will be encouraged to research the different jurisdictions (there are very few who have legalised euthanasia), and the different experiences of people in other countries, good and bad. The decision will have far-reaching consequences for more people than just those in agreement who I think are very much in the minority.

35 Clos de Balmain, Undercliffe Road, St Helier.

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