Voluntary assisted dying to be debated by Tynwald

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Image caption,
A previous bid to allow assisted dying was thrown out by the House of Keys in 2015

Manx politicians are to be called on to consider whether to give terminally ill people the right to choose when to die.

Alex Allinson MHK will ask Tynwald's January sitting to support a law change to allow "voluntary assisted dying", ahead of him putting forward a private members bill later in the year.

He has called for "an open debate" to "flesh out" political opinions.

Isle of Man Freethinkers, who support a right to choose, said any debate should be "based on science and compassion".

Dr Allinson said if he finds support in Tynwald, he would seek leave in March to introduce a private members bill on the "significant social issue", followed by a public consultation in the summer.

He said there had been "a change in public opinion" since the issue was last discussed politically and the time was right to consider "the idea that people should be given the right to control their own destiny".

'Autonomy to make decisions'

The issue was last debated in 2015, when a similar bid was thrown out by members of the House of Keys.

Dr Allinson said other jurisdictions, including parts of Australia, had already adopted "really quite robust laws to allow assisted dying in very certain circumstances".

Isle of Man Freethinkers chairwoman Vicky Christian said the right to have an assisted death "lies purely with the individual".

"Within the law, everyone should have the autonomy to make decisions about their life and death, so I believe that it is time to have this debate again."

A number of states in the US have made assisted dying legal, and in December, Western Australia became the second state in that country to introduce the laws.

Several countries have laws that go further, including Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where euthanasia is legal, and Switzerland, which permits assisted suicide.

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