Assisted Dying Bill passes second reading

The Assisted Dying Bill 2023 passed its second reading in the House of Keys. Politicians chose to progress the Assisted Dying Bill that would allow terminally-ill Isle of Man residents the right to choose to end their lives.

Dr Alex Allinson, who promoted the private members bill back in May 2022, made clear that the underlying principle was “compassion, choice, and autonomy”.

Whilst the second reading has been passed, some Members of the House of Keys (MHK) have raised their concerns surrounding safeguarding, potential risks of coercion, and who is eligible to have the right to choose.

The second reading of the bill was passed 17 to 11, with 17 members of the directly elected lower house backing the bill as it progresses onto the clauses stage.

As it stands, the people who would be eligible to have the right to choose assisted dying would need to meet the following criteria:
  • be terminally-ill and “reasonably expected” to die within six months
  • Be over the age of 18
  • Have lived on the Isle of Man for at least 12 months
  • Have the legal capacity to make the decision
At present, based on the initial drafting of the Bill any medical professionals with a conscientious objection would not have to be involved in assisted dying.

One concern raised by MHKs has been whether the 12 month residential criteria would need to be extended, as fears of the Isle of Man receiving an influx of off-island residents with long term or terminally ill conditions relocating.

With regard to next steps, there will be a vote next Tuesday on whether the clauses of the bill should now be examined by a committee of five MHKs.

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