Dr Peter Saunders' comments welcoming rejection of assisted suicide by States of Guernsey
Date: Friday 18th May 2018
Release time: Immediate
Care Not Killing (CNK), the UK's leading anti-euthanasia campaign group, welcomes the powerful rejection of attempts to legalise assisted suicide and or euthanasia on Guernsey.
Dr Peter Saunders, Campaign Director of Care Not Killing, commented: 'We welcome this strong rejection of this dangerous proposition by the elected Deputies on the Island.
'Parliamentarians across the UK have rightly rejected attempts to introduce assisted suicide and euthanasia ten times since 2003 out of concern for public safety, including in 2015 when the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted against any change in the law by 330 votes to 118.
'Just like Members of Parliament, MSPs and Peers, Guernsey's Deputies have recognised the erosion of so-called safeguards in the tiny number of places that have changed the law to allow assisted suicide and euthanasia - countries like Belgium, the Netherlands and the American states of Oregon and Washington.
'In Oregon and Washington, which are often cited by those championing changing the law as the model for so-called 'assisted dying', a majority of those ending their lives do so because they fear being a burden on their families or carers. At the same time because of health care rationing we have seen those suffering from cancer refused potentially life saving and life extending treatments, while being offered the lethal cocktails of drugs with which to kill themselves.
'This is why changing the law on assisted suicide and euthanasia is opposed by every major disability rights organisation and doctors' group, including the BMA, all the Royal Colleges, British Geriatric Society and the Association for Palliative Medicine.'
Dr Saunders concluded: 'The current law on Guernsey is clear - It protects those who are sick, elderly, depressed, or disabled from feeling under pressure to end their lives. It protects those who have no voice against exploitation and coercion, which is a real threat according to disability rights campaigners Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson and actress Liz Carr.
'We know the Deputies in Guernsey will now turn their attention to the real issues facing disabled people and the terminally ill on the Island, ensuring equality of access to the very best health care available and how to fund this.'
For media inquiries, please contact Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225.
Care Not Killing is a UK-based alliance bringing together over 40 organisations - human rights and disability rights organisations, health care and palliative care groups, faith-based organisations groups - and thousands of concerned individuals.
We have three key aims:
We seek to attract the broadest support among health care professionals, allied health services and others opposed to euthanasia by campaigning on the basis of powerful arguments underpinned by the latest, well-researched and credible evidence.
Proposition 5, the only proposition approved by deputies, in full:
To instruct the Committee for Health & Social Care, in accordance with the resolutions of Article 12, Billet d'État XXIV of 2017 ("A Partnership of Purpose: Transforming Health and Care") and the resolutions of the States contained within the Policy & Resource Plan, and in light of the ageing population and the substantial anticipated increase in health and care needs over the next ten to twenty years:
a. To consider the measures necessary to improve quality of life and health outcomes for all islanders towards the end of their lives, including:
I. improvements in the provision, availability and/or affordability of community services, primary care, aids and adaptations, and long-term care;
II. greater investment in person-centered care for all who require health and care services on an ongoing basis, and recognition and support for the friends and family who surround them, especially those who have caring responsibilities towards them; and
III. possible developments in end-of-life care, such as increasing the hours of provision of specialist palliative care, the onisland availability of specialist consultants, the provision of counselling and support services, and/or the provision of alternative medication and technologies for pain relief;
b. For the avoidance of duplication, to consolidate this work as far as possible with relevant ongoing workstreams under the Partnership of Purpose, the Supported Living and Ageing Well Strategy, and the Disability and Inclusion Strategy; and
c. Having consulted with the Policy & Resources Committee and any other relevant States Committees, to report back to the States as soon as practicable, but by June 2020 at the latest, with recommendations and propositions for ways in which such improvements and developments could be implemented along with resource implications.