Jersey public consultation report highlights assisted suicide concerns, warns Catholic Union

The Catholic Union has said that “deep concerns” remain about plans to introduce assisted suicide on the island of Jersey.

A report from the latest public consultation on plans to change the law on the island has shown that people do not want to see medical professionals or care homes forced to facilitate assisted suicide. The Catholic Union’s written evidence to the consultation was quoted in the final report.

85% of people who responded to the consultation thought that healthcare workers should have the right to refuse assisting in taking someone’s life, while 62% of responders said that owners and operators of care homes should be able to refuse assisted suicide on their premises.

The Catholic Union has warned that it will be “practically impossible” to introduce the kind of safeguards that people want to see and that a change in the law would make life “extremely difficult” for those opposed to assisted suicide.

Earlier this year, a Catholic Union survey found that 85% of responders thought that introducing assisted suicide would make it harder for Catholics and other people of faith to enter the medical profession.

Another Catholic Union survey found that almost a third of responders had been disadvantaged at work because of their faith, with health and care settings being some of the worst examples.

The Catholic Union also responded to an assisted suicide consultation on the Isle of Man earlier this year along with providing evidence to a parliamentary inquiry in Westminster.

Catholic Union Director, Nigel Parker, commented: “Despite plans being at an advanced stage, this report shows that there are still deep concerns about introducing assisted suicide on Jersey. While it is encouraging that so many people recognise the importance for people and places to be exempt from any change in the law, these safeguards will be practically impossible to enforce. Sadly, we have seen that conscientious objection is hard to establish and easily eroded. For Catholics, and others with deep convictions on assisted suicide, changing the law will make life extremely difficult. We urge the Government of Jersey not to brush these concerns under the carpet and to acknowledge the huge challenges that exist when it comes to changing the law in this area.”