Australians should have the right to choose assisted dying, groundbreaking report says

April 26, 2013, Queensland University of Technology

Assisted death should be available to people with incurable and terminal illness who persistently request it. This is a key recommendation of a report from leading academics released today.

The by Australia21 (A21), a non-profit body committed to analysis of complex issues affecting Australia's future, calls on state governments to legislate for change and on the Federal Government to return to the territories their right to legalise assisted dying.

The report, "The right to choose an assisted death: Time for legislation?", was prepared after a roundtable discussion by opponents and supporters of assisted dying from the fields of medicine, law, ethics, palliative care and politics that was held in Brisbane in January in conjunction with QUT's Health Law Research Centre (HLRC).

HLRC director Professor Ben White from QUT's School of Law said the report considered reform of the currently illegal practices of voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide.

"The laws on voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide lack coherence and there is a body of evidence that shows they are not being followed," Professor White said.

"This area of the should be reformed to respect choice, in line with community thinking."

The report's lead author Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas AO, founding chair of A21, said views on assisted dying were changing rapidly around the world.

"A number of jurisdictions around the world have decriminalised assisted dying and and national polls in Australia show people want this option as they approach the end of their lives," Professor Douglas said.

The report is being sent to all state and federal parliamentarians and to professional and religious bodies around Australia.

The report can be downloaded here.

Explore further: Should we prepare for the end? New report calls for decriminalization of assisted dying in Canada

Related Stories

Should we prepare for the end? New report calls for decriminalization of assisted dying in Canada

November 15, 2011
A report commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada, and published today in the journal Bioethics, claims that assisted suicide should be legally permitted for competent individuals who make a free and informed decision, ...

UK experts: Assisted suicide legally possible

January 5, 2012
An independent panel of experts in the U.K. says there is a strong case for changing British law to help terminally ill people die.

Netherlands euthanasia and assisted suicide rates in 2010 comparable to rates before legalization

July 10, 2012
After legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide by the Dutch government in 2002, the number of cases was found to have decreased in 2005. Although the frequency of euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Netherlands ...

French medical body for euthanasia in 'exceptional' cases

February 14, 2013
France's medical ethics council said Thursday that assisted suicide should be allowed in exceptional cases when suffering patients make "persistent and lucid requests" in a step forward to legalising euthanasia.

Canada court says suicide laws unconstitutional

June 15, 2012
(AP) — A British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled Thursday that Canadian laws banning doctor-assisted suicide are unconstitutional.

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.