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November 17, 2016

Global Law Reform: 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

There is little doubt that voluntary euthanasia/ ‘medical aid in dying’ law reform is on the move!

The recent success of Colorado’s Proposition 106 is the good news story in this regard.

You can read more about this new End of Life Choices law here.

Following on Colorado’s heels is Washington DC’s Council passing their ‘Death with Dignity’ bill this week.

That bill is now at the Mayor’s desk awaiting signature into law.

Both the Colorado Act and Washington Bill are incredibly restrictive.

Both allow assistance only for the terminally ill, with less than six months to live.

The entire process is doctor controlled and mediated. This the ‘medical model’ of assisted dying writ large.

The third place to move on Voluntary Euthanasia/ Assisted Dying is the small Australian state of South Australia.

However the news is less good from here. Disastrous in fact.

The bill was introduced by Liberal MP Duncan McFetridge. With a tied vote of 23 votes for and against the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Michael Atkinson, voted against the bill. The fat lady has sung.

This is the 15th time a Voluntary Euthanasia bill has been defeated in this tiny state’s Parliament.

Exit Member, Max Bromson, was instrumental in bringing the issue back to public debate in South Australia.

Max died in July 2014 after illegally importing Nembutal from China.

Max was 66 years old and suffering from bone cancer.

Max Bromson & Philip Nitschke

Max Bromson & Philip Nitschke at Adelaide Central Markets, July 2014

The next Australian state to address the issue will be Victoria in early December 2016.

Watch this space for updates.

Fiona Stewart

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