Isle of Man Warned Vs Assisted Dying

With assisted suicide being pushed hard in Scotland, the Isle of Man has been warned by a top lawyer of the dangers of becoming a “death island” by legalising euthanasia.

Speaking to members of Tynwald’s lower Branch, the House of Keys, legal medical specialist Charles Foster gave evidence that MHK Alex Allinson’s Assisted Dying Bill would be open to legal challenge at the European Court of Human Rights.

Manx politicians voted on Tuesday in favour of amendments which would make euthanasia and assisted suicide available to adults who are not expected to live beyond twelve months, and have been resident on the island for at least five years.

Foster warned that removing any end-of-life protections may breach the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects everyone’s “right to life” and public safety. In addition, he said it could be against the right to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” if medics are required to refer people for euthanasia.

Highlighting international evidence, the lawyer said “the slippery slopes which people warn about are real”.

He explained that “the evidence suggests that if doctors are licensed to kill that affects the way that patients, particularly at vulnerable stages of their lives, are able to trust their doctors”.

“You will struggle to find a palliative care physician anywhere in the world who supports assisted dying, because it is not necessary. If palliative care is properly in place, the worries which are expressed on all placards of unbearable suffering just don’t happen.”