Should assisted dying be made legal in Australia?Thosein the late stages of a terminal illness, and their loved ones, can suffertremendously (and unnecessarily):ChantalSebire, (52-years-old) former schoolteacher and mother of three, was refusedthe right to die by a French court. Sebire suffered from a disfiguring andincurable facial tumour which caused her to lose the sense of smell, taste and finally hereyesight.
Shortlyafter the court’s decision, she decided to take her own life. Before she passedaway she explained that if she saw children in the street, they would run awayfrom her petrified. ‘One would not allow ananimal to go through what I have endured’, she said. How can we make someone like this suffer? Is this really acceptable? Andwhy should we make a person and their family and friends suffer when there is amuch easier alternative? It isalso important to realise that those that want the patient to life, despite thembeing terminally ill and in extreme pain are usually not the patientsthemselves and therefore don’t know what the person is experiencing. Thecurrent rules in Australiarequire a person with great physical and/or mental suffering to continue toendure their suffering against their wishes, which certainly cannot be right.Ultimately not only does the person suffer, everyone around them suffers.
Currentlaws can make people that assistothers with euthanasia go to jail:Late last year, a court in Ireland rejected aperson called, Marie Fleming’s bid to commit suicide, despite multiplesclerosis (sclerosis is adisease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves) this reduced her life to “irreversible agony.”At the centre of this was her husband Tom, who was told he could face up to 14years in prison if he assisted her in committing suicide. In other words,Ireland’s highest court forced a woman to live in unimaginable physical agonywhile her husband had to watch the person he loves suffer daily. His onlyalternative was to help her relieve her pain however he would go to prison.
Anysane person would realise that this is unconventionally cruel and inhumane, yetdecisions like this happen all over the world including in Australia.Furthermore, take the case of paralysed UKresident Paul Lamb. Last month, a judge ruled that any nurse or doctor whohelps him take his own life will be prosecuted, despite him describing his lifeas a “living hell.” Or the case of Diane Pretty who was told herhusband would be prosecuted if he tried to help her avoid the horrible deathshe eventually had.
Simply said, laws against assisted death cause suffering onan unimaginable scale, not just for the terminally ill but for their familiesas well. Finally, Euthanasiais properly regulated:Developed countries like theNetherlands have legalized euthanasia and have had solely minor problems fromthis decision. Any law or system can be misused or abused, however that law andsystem will invariably be refined to prevent such things from happening.
In asimilar manner, it is possible to properly and effectively regulate euthanasia,as several first world countries have done. More so because the process ofeuthanasia itself as it is being argued here, needs competent consent from thepatient. It is vital to think about the protection of both the physicians aswell as the patients.
The crucial component within the regulation of euthanasiawill be deciding what is considered to be euthanasia and what exactly isconsidered to be murder. Adding on to that it is properly regulated, in theNetherlands roughly two-thirds of patients who apply to be euthanized are refused. In conclusion Euthanasia should clearlybe legalised in Australia, the victim and his or her loved ones can suffertremendously, current laws can make people that assist others with euthanasiago to jail and finally euthanasia is properly regulated.