Overt activity in the debate on assisted suicide and euthanasia can ebb and flow in its apparent intensity, but May has been a significant month - and Care Not Killing has been in the thick of it.
After a passionate island-wide consideration of Chief Minister St Pier's broad proposals for assisted suicide and euthanasia - rejected by his own senior committee and the Guernsey Disability Alliance - and an at times confusing debate in the States of Deliberation (Parliament), Deputies in Guernsey voted against watered down proposals 24-14 on 18 May. CNK spokespersons discussed the issue across the media in the run-up.
As in Nicklinson and Lamb, Care Not Killing is an intervener in the case of Noel Conway, a 68-year old man living with Motor Neurone Disease who, supported by Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society), is challenging the compatibility of the law on assisted suicide with the European Convention on Human Rights. As at the High Court last year, our legal team put submissions before the Court of Appeal when they sat 1-3 May, and our expert evidence, concerning palliative care, was much referred to.
As well as our work inside the court, our representatives were featured prominently in the media as in this Sky news exchange:
Campaigners gathered at a Cross-Party Group on End of Life Choice last month made clear their desire to bring a new bill for assisted suicide before MSPs. The Scottish Parliament rejected the bill Patrick Harvie inherited from Margo MacDonald in 2015, but the Parliament faced re-election in 2016 and proponents have been speaking with increasing confidence about the prospects for new legislation. A bill is expected. (Also this month, CNK submitted comments to the Health and Sport Committee, which is considering the Scottish Government's proposed suicide prevention strategy.)
Every legal ruling in our favour is followed by an appeal; every legislative defeat is followed by an immediate pledge to try again. Our resources are only a fraction of those of organisations which favour assisted suicide and euthanasia, and for CNK to continue putting evidence before the courts, responding to hard case-led media campaigns and pushing back against legislative efforts to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia, we need your financial support. Please consider making a donation today: our need has never been greater, and the challenges we face have rarely loomed larger.
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