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Catholic Union warns of “extreme” Isle of Man assisted suicide proposals

The Catholic Union has warned that a new law being considered on the Isle of Man would be “one of the most extreme versions of assisted suicide anywhere in the world.”

A consultation on a Private Members’ Bill being considered by the Manx Parliament came to a close on 26 January. The proposals are far reaching, and go beyond the law of most other countries where assisted suicide is lawful.  

In evidence to the consultation, the Catholic Union said that proposals to permit people who are not terminally ill to seek assisted suicide, and allow lethal medication to be collected over the counter of pharmacies, were “deeply worrying”.

The Catholic Union has encouraged Members of Tynwald to focus on improving palliative care for people on the Isle of Man, and making healthcare provision better able to support the needs of an ageing population.

The consultation comes in the same month as the Government of Jersey considers detailed plans to introduce assisted suicide, and the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee looks at the impact of any change in the existing law in England and Wales.

A survey carried out by the Catholic Union found that 88% of responders thought allowing assisted suicide would make it harder for Catholics and other people of faith to enter the medical profession.

The Catholic Union will continue to raise concerns about the introduction of assisted suicide anywhere in the British Isles and call for better end of life care for those who are terminally ill.

Catholic Union Director, Nigel Parker, comments: “The proposals being considered are extremely worrying. It could see the Isle of Man having one of the most extreme versions of assisted suicide anywhere in the world.

“It’s particularly worrying that the law could include people who are not terminally ill. We have seen this happen in Canada and the results are shocking. Proposals to allow people to collect lethal medication over the counter at pharmacies and store it at home are also deeply concerning. Such a law would hugely undermine the dignity of life.

“Given the close ties between the Isle of Man and the UK, any new law would not only have an impact for people living on the island but for people across the British Isles. It is vital that the implications of this decision are properly understood. The Catholic Union will continue to monitor the situation carefully.”

Read our response to the consultation below.