Catholic Union welcomes opposition to Isle of Man assisted suicide plans

The Catholic Union has welcomed the results of a consultation on the Isle of Man, which found that a majority of people opposed plans to introduce assisted suicide on the island.

1,650 responders objected to the principle that “assisted dying should be permitted for terminally ill adults on the Isle of Man”, compared to 1,630 responders who were in favour. The results highlight the divisive nature of assisted suicide and the need to focus on immediate ways of supporting people who are terminally ill with better palliative care.

The majority of responders to the consultation (88%) were Isle of Man residents, showing that the consultation results are reflective of Manx opinion.

The consultation was carried out as the Isle of Man Parliament, the House of Keys, considers a Private Members’ Bill that would legalise assisted dying on the island, which is a Crown Dependency.

The Catholic Union had warned that the plans being considered were “extremely worrying” and risked introducing “one of the most extreme versions of assisted suicide anywhere in the world”.

A Catholic Union survey earlier this year found that 88% of responders thought that introducing assisted suicide would make it harder for Catholics and other people of faith to enter the medical profession.

Proposals to introduce assisted suicide are also being considered on Jersey. Meanwhile, the House of Commons Health and Care Select Committee is considering the impact of a possible change in the law in England and Wales. Legislation is also expected in the Scottish Parliament before the end of this year.

The Catholic Union is continuing to monitor developments across the British Isles extremely carefully and highlighting the interests and concerns from the Catholic community about any change in the law.

Catholic Union Director, Nigel Parker, commented: “The results from this consultation are encouraging. It is no surprise that when confronted with the grim reality of making assisted suicide legal, a majority of people have rejected the plans. We hope that the Isle of Man Government and Parliament will look at these results carefully and listen to the concerns of people on the island. Better palliative care needs to be the starting point for the conversation about how to support those who are terminally ill. This is essential if the dignity of life is to be upheld. We will continue to make this case to politicians and policy makers across the British Isles.”