Voluntary Euthanasia the Debate is Going on at Many Levels

Tuesday 21 September 2010 @ 9.52 a.m. | Legal Research

The Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care (End of Life Arrangements) Amendment Bill 2010 was introduced into the South Australian House of Assembly recently. It comes at an interesting time as the topic seems to be very much in the news at both the state and federal levels. At the federal level the matter has been raised by the Greens who have indicated their intent to push for the reinstatement of the previously vetoed Northern Territory laws on this matter.

An interesting extract from the second reading speech of the Hon. S.W. Key’s when introducing the South Australian Bill is as follows:

“The bill seeks to give effect to the wishes of more than 80 per cent of South Australians who support the legal regulation of voluntary euthanasia. It is based on the compassionate principle that no person with a terminal illness, or anyone who is suffering from an illness or injury to an extent that it makes life intolerable, should be forced by law to continue that suffering. I say that the bill seeks to regulate voluntary euthanasia, because, as we all know—or should know—many doctors do, with compassion, assist people who are faced with unbearable suffering to terminate their lives in as peaceful and dignified a manner as possible.” [Emphasis added]

Two points of interest in the quote are the high numbers (80%) said to support voluntary euthanasia and the point that, possibly it already exists defacto and is actually in need of regulation.

What are your views? Is the support for it as high as 80% and is it more a matter of regulating that which already happens?

The text of the Private Members Bill, the Second Reading Speech and the Explanatory Memorandum for the Bill are available to subscribers to our TimeBase LawTracker and LawOne products they can also be located on the SA Government websites.