Thanks for keeping euthanasia and assisted suicide out of South Australia

SA Parliament rejects intentional and direct killing via euthanasia and assisted suicide

 

Thanks for keeping euthanasia and assisted suicide out of South Australia

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Thanks for keeping euthanasia and assisted suicide out of South Australia

The recent defeat in the South Australian (SA) parliament of the Death with Dignity Bill 2016 is a significant success against pressures to legalise patient killing, not only in SA but across the country. It is, in fact, the fifteenth time that a bill to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide has been knocked back in SA.

The Death with Dignity Bill 2016 was the second bill debated in South Australian Parliament in 2016. This bill followed a first bill which was struck out after being considered too radical. The Death with Dignity Bill 2016 was then proposed as a more moderate and incising bill to get legislators across the line.

This second bill proposed assisted suicide or euthanasia for terminally ill individuals who, for whatever reason, could not take the lethal drug themselves. Once the death of the person had been approved, there were no further safeguards proposed in the legislation, such as provision for further consent (in the case of euthanasia). Furthermore, the bill also did not require any authorised person such as a doctor or nurse be present at an assisted suicide, placing already vulnerable people in a position of even greater vulnerability and risk.

The bill initially passed a second reading stage with a vote of 27 to 19, leading to a debate that continued up in the house until the early hours of the morning. The debate examined clause by clause the proposals of the bill and concluded with a conscience vote which tied at 23 votes for and against. Speaker of the House, Michael Atkinson then used his casting vote to decide against the bill and end the debate.

Go Gentle Australia founder and media presenter Andrew Denton, was reported to state that he felt bitterly disappointed with the result. “Until there is a cure for cancer and MS, there are people dying in pain who we can’t help,” he stated.

The legislators who voted against this Bill did not, however, deny help to people in pain and intolerable suffering. They did, in fact, acknowledge the profound cultural shift that would occur in the State once direct and intentional killing was legalised for some individuals. A cultural shift that does not protect the voiceless and vulnerable. We have seen many examples of this already in jurisdictions where euthanasia and assisted suicide has been introduced.

What this Bill has also done is highlight the importance of speaking about death and dying in Australia and finding suitable ways to care for those who are terminally ill or facing intolerable suffering.

We need to be investing more for example, in our health care services such as palliative care mobile teams so that adequate services can be provided in the home, across the country, to allow those who wish to die at home, to do so.  

Palliative care services ought to commence earlier on the patient's care journey so that patients and their families can be actively involved in their treatment plans. This will ensure that patient’s values, goals and preferences are reflected in their care plans. Such services should also aim to address any concerns or fears that the patient may have.  Being better involved in the care plan, better equipped with knowledge of what is happening, and having wishes respected, such as discontinuation of medical treatment when medical treatment is futile, can bring a greater sense of control and dignity in death for the patient. 

Following the SA decision, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) also published its new policy review on euthanasia and assisted suicide. The policy review is a five-yearly process that involves significant consultation and surveying of members.

In their statement, the AMA acknowledges their commitment to making timely, good quality end-of-life care available to all Australians. They state: “we must ensure that no individual requests euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide simply because they are unable to access this care.”

The statement also reiterated the AMA’s opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide and how doctors should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person’s life. This does not include the discontinuation of treatments that are of no medical benefit to a dying patient.

Please join me in signing this petition to express our thanks and gratitude to the MPs who voted against the Death with Dignity Bill 2016 in South Australian Parliament. We further ask them to continue working hard towards providing adequate resources to ensure all Australians have access to quality and timely end-of-life care if it is needed.

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Thanks for keeping euthanasia and assisted suicide out of South Australia

We would like to express our thanks and gratitude to the MPs who voted against the Death with Dignity Bill 2016.

We do not wish to see Australia follow the path of other countries who have introduced euthanasia and assisted suicide initially with so-calledsafeguards,’ only to see this quickly expand out of control. 

We acknowledge that we all want to be able to die with dignity and compassion. We believe however that this can be achieved through the provision of resources and supports to our medical services. Provision of appropriate palliative care services that are accessible, timely and patient-centred will help to ensure a greater sense of control and dignity in death for both the patient and their family.  

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Thanks for keeping euthanasia and assisted suicide out of South Australia

Sign this petition now!

0500
  361
 
361 people have signed. Help us reach 500 signatures.