Is voluntary assisted suicide really available to the police?


In March of this year, Tasmania became Australia’s third jurisdiction to legalize euthanasia, passing the End-of-Life Choice (Assisted suicide) Bill 2020. law If the appropriate criteria are met, the patient will provide a way to end his or her life.

Of course, this law is not the first law in Tasmania, and there are many attempts to pass the assisted suicide law. 2009, 2013,and 2016..

In 1995, the Northern Territory Rights of the Terminal Disease Act 1995Was later inoperable by the federal government 1997 Euthanasia Act In public protest.

Since then, numerous attempts have been made to pass the assisted suicide (VAD) bill in Victoria. First successful state 2017, and Western Australia Next proceeding In 2019.

Most of the rules for the Western Australian model have not yet come into force, so the only way to put a practical look at Australia’s experience to date is from three reports published by the Victorian Voluntary Assisted suicide Review Board. You can.

Victorian Prime Minister before Victorian regulations come into effect Daniel Andrews said“Based on our overseas experience, we expect about 12 people to have access to voluntary assisted suicide in the first 12 months.”

Andrews added that the number of patients will increase and will begin to “stabilize” in up to 150 patients annually.

First report (pdf) The Voluntary Assisted suicide Review Board for the period June-December 2019 pointed out 52 cases of VAD drugs given to patients.

Second report (pdf), From January to June 2020, 78 people chose to end their lives through VAD during that period.

Latest report (pdf) reveals that between July and December 2020, 94 people chose to die, bringing the total death toll of VAD to 224 since it became accessible in 2019. did.

This goes far beyond the expected “dozen” cases of the first year of operation and exceeds the higher “stabilized” estimates by the Andrews government.

Clearly, this shows that the VAD experience far exceeds government expectations.

Which raises the question: is it safe?

It’s almost impossible to say the answer. The main function of the VAD Review Board is simply to check the paperwork and ensure that the process is adhered to. However, the first report revealed that in 83% of cases the paperwork was inadequate and was returned for correction.

As the author John Keon said in his book Euthanasia, ethics and public policy:

What checks does the Secretary carry out to ensure that the requirements are met before issuing a permit? Wouldn’t they automatically attract rubber stamps if the required forms were submitted and the appropriate boxes were checked?

This model, as most likely in Tasmania, relies primarily on the expertise of physicians and the accuracy of their reports.

In the first report, the type of training that doctors had to perform to deal with patients in a VAD situation took four hours to complete, over-effects and compulsion to the patient.

This question is Inquiries about Elder Abuse In 2018, the Western Australian Parliament acknowledged that “inheritance impatience” is one of the ten forms of elder abuse.

In addition, there are criminal cases Justin v Regina In New South Wales, he helped his wife and friends end the life of their wife’s husband with Alzheimer’s disease.

At first glance, it seemed like an incident with mercy on her husband who wanted to die. However, as a result of deeper investigation, the case revealed a much more complicated inside story.

The wife and husband visited a doctor they had never seen before, rather than a regular general practitioner (GP). My husband was no longer able to read and write and did not have the “will ability”, which is the mental ability to correct a will.

Nevertheless, they were able to obtain certification from the GP to claim that their husband “could make their own decisions and understand the nature of those decisions.”

The husband was then taken to his wife to meet a lawyer to correct his will. The will initially left 50% of his A $ 2 million property to his wife and 25% to each of her husband’s daughters (wife’s stepdaughters).

The wife instructed the lawyer to correct her willingness to leave almost all real estate to her, minus a total of $ 100,000 per daughter (5% of each real estate).

While in appeal, The court admitted:

The crown justifies the conclusion that the criminal’s role in changing the mind of a partner was motivated to some extent by self-interest, rather than being completely altruistic in her assistance to his suicide. I’m having trouble with this aspect of the criminal’s account.

Under the VAD Act, no jurisdiction seems to have a mechanism to prevent this from happening.

There seems to be no active crackdown other than compliance with paperwork. There are criminal penalties for those who do so, but it is difficult and unlikely to monitor such issues and initiate an investigation. If they occur, it can be too late for the victim.

Ultimately, in the case of VAD, issues, including undue impact, extortion, and abuse, are not actively cracked down.

These problems are entirely doctor-dependent, but are even more difficult because these types of effects are likely to be hidden by victims and perpetrators.

Nor does the law effectively prevent individuals from doing “doctor shopping,” that is, attending a large number of doctors to find a doctor who approves the relevant paperwork and makes the desired diagnosis.

Although the Tasmanian model tries to thwart this purchase based on Section 38 action, There are still loopholes for patients to find a favorable diagnosis or evaluation.

Many support the legalization of VAD in Australia, but be aware that we are dealing with the important issues of life and death. Above all, we should not let enthusiasm interfere with scrutiny and always strive to protect the most vulnerable people from abuse.

Heath Harley-Bellemore

Heath Harley-Bellemore is Vice President of the Western Australian Law Theory Association and is studying assisted suicide at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.