The Catholic Union has called on the Government of Jersey to pause and reflect on its plans to make assisted suicide lawful on the island.
In response to the latest consultation on the proposed new law – which could come into effect as early as 2025 – the Catholic Union has raised a number of concerns and urged authorities to listen to the island’s Catholic community.
While not part of the United Kingdom, the Catholic Union highlighted the close ties between Jersey and Great Britain. It said that the prospect of Jersey becoming the first part of the British Isles to legalise assisted suicide was a matter of great concern to Catholics in Britain.
The Catholic Union warned that there would be clear practical implications of the decision to introduce assisted suicide in Jersey, especially in the provision of health and social care, as well as the prospect of the new law setting a precedent for other parts of the British Isles.
The Union has expressed its hope that the details confronting the Government of Jersey around the introduction of assisted suicide, will make them reflect on the right course of action before pushing ahead with any changes to the law. They also urged the Government to carry out research into the provision of palliative care on the island.
The consultation, which closed on 14 January, comes in the same month as the House of Commons Health and Care Select Committee concludes a call for evidence on the possibility of introducing assisted suicide in England and Wales. The Catholic Union will be submitting evidence to the inquiry based on the results from a recent survey of their members and supporters.
Catholic Union Director, Nigel Parker, comments: “The situation in Jersey is extremely serious. While proposals are at an advanced stage, there is still time for the Government to pause and reflect. This consultation shows just how difficult safeguards and exemptions will be to introduce in practice. It is a thorny issue for any government to grapple with, especially as healthcare systems are still struggling in the wake of the pandemic.
“Given the close ties between Jersey 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.”
- More information about the consultation can be found here: https://www.gov.je/Caring/AssistedDying/Pages/AssistedDying.aspx
- More information about the Catholic Union can be found here: catholicunion.org.uk
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- The Catholic Union’s full submission to the consultation can be found at Appendix 1