Assisted dying on track to be legalised in Isle of Man

Posted: Wed, 1st Nov 2023

Access to assisted dying could become available as soon as 2025.

truthseeker08, Pixabay

A bill to legalise assisted dying on the Isle of Man has passed its second reading, paving the way for it become law.

The Assisted Dying Bill passed its second reading by a vote of 17 to 7 yesterday in the House of Keys, the elected lower house of the isle's legislature.

This means assisted dying could soon be an option for mentally competent adults with a terminal illness.

The individual must be reasonably expected to die within six months and must have been resident on the Isle of Man for a year.

Earlier this year, the National Secular Society responded to a public consultation on the Assisted Dying Bill. It called for mentally competent adults to have the right "to make a voluntary and settled decision" regarding "the time, setting and manner of their death".

The NSS also warned theological opponents of assisted dying were "obfuscating their language, motivations and funding".

Should the bill pass subsequent legislative stages, the Isle of Man, a British crown dependency, would become the first jurisdiction to legalise assisted dying in the British Isles.

With the next stage of legislative scrutiny scheduled for November 7, assisted dying could be available by 2025.

Alex Allinson, the Member of the House of Keys who brought the bill, said it was underpinned by "compassion, choice, and autonomy".

The legalisation of assisted dying on the Isle of Man could increase pressure on legislatures in the UK to implement similar laws. A similar bill is before the Scottish parliament and a parliamentary inquiry on assisted dying is under way at Westminster.

There is overwhelming public support for assisted dying reform, even amongst religious groups.

NSS: "It is now time for legislatures across the UK to follow the Isle of Man's example"

NSS campaigns officer Dr Alejandro Sanchez said: "We welcome the House of Key's decision to advance the Assisted Dying Bill to the next legislative stage.

"We support access to rigorously safeguarded assisted dying, rooted in patient autonomy, compassion and a desire to prevent and alleviate suffering.

"It is now time for legislatures across the UK to follow the Isle of Man's example."

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