You can write an email to your MP in the text box below, using some of the information provided here:
The Death with Dignity Bill 2016 was tabled in the House of Assembly of the South Australian Parliament on 20 October.
If passed, this Bill would allow assisted suicide and euthanasia for people who have been diagnosed with a ‘terminal medical condition’, who assert that they are suffering intolerably, and for whom two doctors (and possibly a psychiatrist) attest to the illness and capacity of the person to make a decision to end their own life.
The Bill is aimed at aiding those ‘unable to self-administer voluntary euthanasia’-essentially promoting assisted suicide.
There are many problems with this Bill:
- Section 21 instructs that a death under this Act ‘will be taken to have been caused by the terminal medical condition from which the person was suffering’, causing doctors to essentially lie, as the terminally ill person may have had many months or even years to live.
- The patient decides whether their suffering is intolerable or not – this is entirely subjective.
- Only a psychiatrist, not a doctor, has the capacity to decline the euthanasia request based on his/her judgement. Doctors can refuse to take part on conscience grounds, however if they have doubts about the true level of suffering they do not have the possibility of declining the request based on their medical judgement.
- A person self-administering voluntary euthanasia may be assisted by other persons, with no safeguards against abuse behind closed doors.
- There are insufficient provisions for recording that a patient did not wish to be euthanised.
- Under Section 30, any life insurance policy is not invalidated as to a payout, creating the possibility of fraud for financial gain.
Allowing doctors to take their patients’ lives will fundamentally change the doctor patient bond. Paul Kelly, Senior Journalist and Editor-At-Large at The Australian, wrote earlier this month:
"If we proceed then life will change, there will be a "slippery slope", your relationship with your doctor will be different, the vulnerable will have a reason to feel uneasy, the push to make euthanasia a right will be inevitable, the frail will feel obliged to volunteer and our values as a community will shift more quickly than you appreciate."
Please contact your Lower and Upper House Members via the text box below, to urge them to oppose this dangerous Bill.
Points to consider making when contacting MPs:
- We know that suicide has a devastating effect on a person’s friends and family. Euthanasia is a form of assisted suicide and we should treat it as such.
- Legalised euthanasia is incompatible with a society that values human life and seeks to protect the vulnerable.
- Legalising euthanasia will change the community’s views towards our elderly people, those with a disability, and the sick. It presents a “quick and easy” solution in the form of death.
- Assisted suicide will undoubtedly be sought for people who are not necessarily dying, but who simply fear the changed circumstances that a deterioration in their condition might bring.
- There are insufficient safeguards for people who feel like their medical condition is becoming a burden on those around them, and feel pressure to choose assisted suicide.
- Resources can be better spent by improving end of life care for those who need it the most.