Parliaments have recognised the inherent dangers of euthanasia. Apart from the recent Victorian legislation, only one
euthanasia proposal in Australia has passed (with that
one being repealed two years later) despite many attempts. The lived experience of jurisdictions throughout the world where euthanasia and physician assisted suicide has been legalised show that the law cannot
contain the abuses stemming from such a radical departure from traditional
reject euthanasia and physician assisted suicide for a variety of reasons,
Safeguards do not work: Proposed “safeguards” for the use of euthanasia and
physician assisted suicide – that
the patient be terminally ill, be of sound
mind, well informed, free from duress and be able to change their mind
at any time – echo
the safeguards put in place in Belgium in 2002. In just over a decade,
now allows euthanasia for children, patients with autism, anorexia,
personality disorder, chronic-fatigue syndrome, partial paralysis and bi-polar
disorder. A survey of physicians in
Flanders showed 30% of cases occurring without explicit consent.
Further studies in the region showed only half of
euthanasia cases were reported despite it being legally required.
In Oregon, where reporting mechanisms are in place, the 2016 annual
report shows that in 75% of cases that year, it is unknown whether a
patient was in the presence of a health care provider when the lethal
dose was ingested. In addition, in 80% of cases, it is unknown whether
any complications were suffered.
The doctor-patient relationship is changed:
The purpose of medicine is to improve a patient’s
quality of life not shorten it. The “do no harm” principle establishes a significant bond of trust between
doctors and patients. Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide erodes this
bond when the person who heals becomes the person who kills or assists a patient to kill themselves. This is confirmed by the World Medical Association, who state that
physician assisted suicide and euthanasia, are unethical and must be condemned
by the medical profession.
Euthanasia and physician assisted
suicide attack the vulnerable: Loneliness,
depression and fear of being a burden consistently list higher than “pain” as
reasons for seeking euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide pave the way for easy
discrimination of vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities, the
elderly, the lonely, and those with mental illnesses and could further reinforce the erroneous belief that the elderly and sick are a burden.
Remote and rural citizens need better
care, not euthanasia and physician assisted suicide: Requests for euthanasia and physician assisted
suicide can be proportionate to the availability of symptom control. Residents
in areas where there is limited palliative care may have their decisions influenced
by what is available, rather than what they would prefer.
It legalises unjust discrimination: Any change to the
law legalising euthanasia and physician assisted suicide would effectively establish a class of people whom it
is legally permissible to kill. It would also undermine the efforts of
community based (and often government-funded) programs, which seek to prevent
suicide with a contradictory message.
Real dignity: Our
dignity is not dependent on our usefulness or health, but simply on our
humanity. Everyone should be loved, supported and cared for until
they die. There is nothing truly dignified about being killed or assisted to
suicide. Such a death is always a tragedy.