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Public "overwhelmingly support" assisted dying


Friday 23 March 2018

Public "overwhelmingly support" assisted dying

Those behind the campaign to introduce assisted dying in Guernsey say they have public support behind them, locally and across the country.

Sarah Griffith, Doug Wilson and Andrew Ayres all spoke at last night's public meeting, along with Deputy Gavin St Pier who is leading political efforts to overhaul the law.

The meeting at Les Beaucamps High School was an opportunity to outline their wishes which include a new law enabling assisted dying for terminally ill island residents only, and not the suicide clinics suggested by some national media coverage.

They say their preferred system would protect the dying, giving them "some control over the timing and circumstances of their death."

assisted dying

Pictured: Part of the leaflet distributed during last night's public meeting on assisted dying 

Ms Griffith and Mr Ayres told Express that the debate so far has been cordial and they hope that will continue as public support grows for the idea.

Mr Ayres said: "Your page (Bailiwick Express Guernsey Facebook page) has promoted our meeting tonight, and I've tried to give people answers because the problem is, people read the headlines and they don't know the details so getting out as much detail as possible is something which I thought would be helpful and I found it has helped people understand a bit more, They may not have changed their views but they can say they understand the issue a bit better."

Ms Griffith added that media reports suggesting that assisted dying will be allowed within weeks are misleading, explaining that they are expecting a lengthy period before anything changes even if the States vote in favour of Deputy St Pier's Requete during the May States meeting:

"This is right at the very beginning, nothing has been set in tablets of stone yet so we are literally opening it up for discussion So this, is one of the ways we want to get it spoken about, for people to give us their opinions and to make their feelings known.

"I've stuck my head above the parapet and said 'let's organise an open forum' and Doug and I are very much together on this, we've organised the whole thing together and we feel the same, and we've invited Andrew as an advocate as it helps us to have the legal arguments there."

Doug Wilson Sarah Griffith

Pictured: Doug Wilson and Sarah Griffith

Mr Wilson has been actively involved in the campaign since the start, having set up a website calling for "dignity in dying" in Guernsey. He told Express the campaign has received an "avalanche of public support" adding that "negative comments have been few and far between, despite the fact that we've really tried to reach out so that we can hear both sides of the argument."

There is some opposition to the proposals to introduce assisted dying in Guernsey though. The British Medical Association has said as an organisation it is against the notion as a proportion of its members have said they do not want to take part in any assisted dying services.

Church leaders In Guernsey are also known to have discussed the matter. In a statement given to Express, the Dean of Guernsey, the Very Reverend Tim Barker, said that he respects "the motive and integrity of those who are arguing for assisted suicide" even if he disagrees with them. 


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Posted by sara starkey on
If this comes off it is truly great news…..and what a civilised place you are

But I fear the BMA is opposed to assisted dying.........and people keep blaming Parliamentarians! The vicious circle is that until the medical establishment vote in favour I fear MPs won’t. For the BMA are a powerful lobby group. Then, when someone is desperate to end their suffering, the excuse used by the medic is ‘I can’t help you, it is against the law.’

The medical establishment must STOP seeing death as a FAILURE. Mend those they can and leave those of us dying to choose NOT to die horribly slowly with our families and friends haunted by our long drawn out deaths. There seems to be a collective madness within the unelected medical establishment, the MPs and the religious fundamentalists. STOP the paternalism, the arrogance that oozes out of these self important people. Give power and rights to the individual who has made a sane and logical decision that their life has come to an end. Death is NOT A FAILURE can be a wonderful release from suffering. What's not to like?‬

My husband died at Dignitas last year on the 28th of April with me holding his hand. It was a 'good' death....but he should have been allowed to do it here in the UK in his own home with all who love him there, now that would have been a 'great' death. Rather than sneak off to Switzerland.
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