In the first week of December, the Tasmanian Lower House will commence debate on the Assisted Suicide Bill, which passed the Upper House this month.
While the Bill was amended in the Upper House, the amendments are illusory. The Bill is still a dangerous piece of legislation. We must do all we can to expose the weaknesses in this Bill.
Your action today could save vulnerable lives
The Assisted Suicide Bill promotes hopelessness and fear. It allows people to end their life because they’re afraid of what may happen to them in the future.
The Bill does not provide any proper safeguards and is one of most loosely drafted Bills on this issue in the world. It encourages, not merely facilitates, assisted suicide.
Here is some information you can use when contacting your MPs. The Eligibility Criteria in the Bill exposes these fatal flaws…
Relevant medical condition: The amended Bill says that the condition from which a person suffers must be expected to cause death in 6 months or 12 months for a neurodegenerative condition.
While at first blush that is an improvement on the original version, which had no time limit, the time limits are not fixed. The VAD Commission can easily change that limit. The Bill provides that the Commission can decide that the person’s medical condition is such that the limits need not be observed. The change is therefore largely illusory.
Decision-making capacity: A person who is unable to speak or write can access assisted suicide by using gestures. This is ripe for abuse.
Suffering intolerably: There need not be present suffering – only the anticipation of suffering – because of the condition, treatment or complications. A person may access assisted suicide only because of what they fear may happen in the future.
Ineligible if only suffering from a mental illness or mental disability: Mentally ill or disabled people can access assisted suicide if they have another condition as well, without the need for a psychiatrist’s opinion.
Authorised medical practitioners: This aspect has also been amended. Doctors who will give consent for the prescription of the poisons to end life now have to be registered GPs or specialists with “relevant experience in treating or managing the particular condition.” However, they do not need to be the person’s treating medical practitioner or have any psychiatric qualifications.
Time from start to final request: Minimum total of 96 hours from first to final request compared with Vic & WA which require 9 days. Tasmania will have the shortest time.
- No proper protections for faith-based institutions: Hospitals, hospices and aged care providers may not be able to deny assisted suicide to their patients, regardless of the fact that euthanasia conflicts with their religious beliefs.
You can use these thoughts when contacting MPs.
Take action today
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Thank you for standing up for the most vulnerable in our society.