The letter in the Manx Independent of April 27 from Dr TRG Howard of Wimborne, Dorset, said: ‘There are so many red herrings in the letter (April 20) from John and Pauline Eddington (sic) about the assisted dying debate that it is difficult to know where to start.’
In the interests of accuracy, he or she could have started by getting our names right.
Dr Howard stated that ‘only 4.7% of Manx adults voted in the consultation, so to claim that it represents public opinion one way or the other is meaningless’.
But it was Dr Allinson who organised and treated the consultation as an informed opinion poll by saying that he would proceed if a majority were in favour.
Dr Howard also stated that by using the ‘slippery slope’ argument, we were in effect saying that we ‘know better than all the legislatures that decided on assisted dying and that their (ie our) opinion should predominate.’
Following Dr Howard’s logic, are Manx residents who have concerns or disagree expected to keep quiet and just do as we are told?
Dr Howard claimed that: ‘The core of this debate is how far should the moral views of one group have the right to be imposed on another.’
Nowhere in our letter did we express any moral or ethical views, but concentrated on practical aspects, legal complexities, protection of the vulnerable, and safeguards for medical professionals.
Assisted dying is a matter of life and death, on which clearly there are different views.
A civilised debate is not enhanced by misrepresenting the views of others.
John and Pauline Pennington
This letter was first published in the Isle of Man Examiner of May 16.
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