South Australians go to the polls this Saturday March 15. A new group called Legal voluntary Euthanasia will stand for the Legislative Council.
The two Legal Voluntary Euthanasia candidates standing for election are Stephen Kenny spokesperson for Lawyers for Death with Dignity, and Amy Orange , the convenor of the Syndicated Voluntary Euthanasia Youth Advocates – ‘SAVE-YA’. The South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES) are supporting their campaign and helping to circulate the attached flyer.
New ANZSPM Position Statements on Quality End-of-Life Care and The Practice of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
The Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM) has adopted two new position statements: ‘Quality End-of-Life Care – Part 1′ and ‘The Practice of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide’.
The ‘ANZSPM Position Statement (2013) on ‘The Practice of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide’ declares:
- The discipline of Palliative Medicine does not include the practice of euthanasia or assisted suicide
- ANZSPM endorses the World Medical Association Resolution on Euthanasia, adopted by the 53rd WMA General Assembly, Washington, DC, USA, October 2002
- ANZSPM opposes the legalisation of both euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The vast majority of rational suicide cases are known only to the immediate family. The public, policy makers and politicians are blissfully unaware of the scale of the distress, and will remain so without the official watchdogs, coroners, exposing what is happening behind closed doors.
I contend that when investigating a suicide clearly related to voluntary euthanasia, a coroner should consider and report on whether he/she believed the person was motivated to kill themselves while they maintained the capacity to do so, and that in all probability, if they believed they could lawfully receive assistance to end their life at some later point in time, the person may well have deferred their decision to die. It would seem this evaluation and conclusion could be undertaken under the 'why' heading in the list of objectives of the coroner.
Additionally, in the case of a violent suicide (e.g. firearm, hanging etc.) the coroner could also consider whether the act would likely have been less violent and thereby lessen the anguish for family and others involved in the aftermath, if the person had lawful access to a more tranquil way to take their own life.
The ACT Greens have re-energised the voluntary euthanasia debate, with Minister for Ageing Shane Rattenbury describing Canberra's inability to make laws on voluntary euthanasia as an affront to democracy. Mr Rattenbury's intervention came after Labor backbencher Mary Porter put voluntary euthanasia back on the agenda this week by initiating a debate on end-of-life issues in the Assembly on Wednesday, and organising a forum on the subject next month.
ABC's Radio National Law Report program looked at the impact of Belgian’s recent decision to allow voluntary euthanasia for children of any age. In reality, Belgium will still have an age limit on access to voluntary euthanasia because of the strict competence and capability criteria safeguard included in the new law. Much of the recent discussion in Belgium has focused on depression suffers who request euthanasia. In Belgium it is possible in early dementia to receive voluntary euthanasia, but in latter stages this becomes impossible, so over the next couple of years it is likely that we will see a lot of debates surrounding dementia patients and voluntary euthanasia.
On the ABC’s The Drum on Friday 14th Feb. (from 17 mins) the panel discuss the new voluntary euthanasia law in Belgium, which has removed any age barrier. The comments by panellists Adam Spencer and Paul Sheehan are of particular interest:
Labor backbencher Mary Porter intends moving a motion in the ACT Assembly on "dying with dignity" and end-of-life issues, an action sure to reignite the euthanasia debate. Ms Porter has also organised an end-of-life forum in Canberra for March 13, bringing together health professionals, interest groups and experts including professors Ben White and Lindy Willmott, who have written extensively on voluntary euthanasia.
An opinion piece by Sam de Brito in the Sydney Morning Herald commenting on the use of fictional biblical precedents to influence public policy.
This Autumn 2014 DWDnsw Newsletter contains lots of news from around Australia and around the globe, including progress in New Mexico USA, Canada and the UK. One of the highlights of this newsletter is an extract from an excellent analysis by Margaret Sing, the President of DWD Tasmania, of the recent vote on their Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill. There are lots of parallels to what happened last year with the failure of our Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill NSW.
You can also read about DWD activity brewing in NSW regional areas, including Port Macquarie, Ocean Shores/ Mullumbimby and Orange, and there is an update on the registration of the Voluntary Euthanasia Party in NSW. Emily shares her story of the traumatic death of her father, who wanted to be allowed to die weeks before he finally did.
This is the last newsletter before our Annual General Meeting on Saturday April 5th, so it includes parting words from our outgoing President as well as details of the AGM.
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