Euthanasia in Australia

Euthanasia has been a touchy topic for the past decade as the aging community becomes more populous and the old age care industry becomes more strained. Several key news pieces have covered the topic, showing a personal side to the issue with interviews with those whose partners/mothers/fathers who have been euthanized and also those who wish to be euthanized. The main conflict that exists around the Euthanasia is the illegality of the procedure, which is factored by various religious and moral worries. However many would argue that those suffering from terminal diseases such as incurable cancer or chronic diseases deserve a better, cleaner death, in fact Euthanasia comes from the greek meaning “good death.”

Oregon, Washington, Montana, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg are the only jurisdictions in the world where laws specifically permit euthanasia or assisted suicide.

The key religious factor around the topic would be that the belief that “suicide is a sin”.
Samson, judas. “Life is god’s greatest gift,” you might have heard from Reverend Hale in The Crucible. This is center of the reasoning against euthanasia.

In fact the Catholic Church used to state that suicide was a sin, and that persons committing suicide could not have a Catholic service and burial. However, the Church has since changed this point of view.

This is one of the many passages in the Bible that condemns suicide as sin.

Deuteronomy 30:19
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life…”

Many attempts of legalizing euthanasia have been put forward, one of these was the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act of 1995 which allowed for medically assisted voluntary euthanasia at the request of a terminally ill person. This Act was rejected as have several other Acts been rejected. This is due to a power struggle over Euthanasia in parliament, with some politicians trying to use a pro-euthanasia agenda such as Euthanasia campaigner Phillip Nitschke will be standing as an ACT candidate for the Senate at the federal election.

Dr Nitschke will stand for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party which will also field Senate candidates in New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

Dr Nitschke says the ACT has some of the highest levels of support for voluntary euthanasia.

He says four in five Australians are in favour of voluntary euthanasia law reform, and a quarter consider the issue to be a vote-changer in the upcoming election.

I believe there comes a time when continued attempts to cure are not compassionate… wise, or medically sound. That is the time when all efforts should be directed to making the patient’s remaining time comfortable. All methods should be directed to alleviating pain and other symptoms as well as to providing emotional and spiritual support for both the patient and the patient’s loved ones. These suffering people deserve a pro-euthanasia system that isn’t exploited or influenced by religion or politics.


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