Rodney Syme, a Melbourne surgeon who says he has helped scores of sick people die peacefully, is challenging a Medical Board of Australia order that prohibits him from doing anything that has the "primary purpose of ending a person's life".
Almost half of doctors surveyed say they would help a terminally ill person commit suicide if that patient was suffering intolerably, in the latest sign of growing momentum towards voluntary euthanasia.
Under Victoria's proposed assisted dying laws, to be debated next week, adults will be eligible for a lethal pill if their condition is expected to cause death "within no longer than 12 months". (9 Oct 2017)
There has been a surge in support at senior levels of the Andrews government for Victoria to become the first state to legalise euthanasia, with ministers citing personal experience, including the death of a teenage daughter, in their stance.
The first step towards achieving such change is to clarify where the law actually stands with regard to euthanasia.
This principle is crucial for medicine, because it means the toolbox to respond to suffering is never empty. A doctor acting humanely and within the bounds of normal professional practice to relieve suffering that incidentally hastens death has never been subject to criminal prosecution in Australia.
A feature of the current debate on assisted dying, particularly among its proponents, has been the personal stories of distress involving the death of loved ones.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Labor MP Jill Hennessy – among others – have shared powerful and moving accounts of the deaths of family members that deserve our attention and compassion.
The willingness of some euthanasia advocates to paint all opposition as religious zealotry must not go unchallenged.
I oppose the introduction of assisted dying by the state because it inherently prioritises the rights of the individual over our collective responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in our society. October 16, 2017
The Victorian and New South Wales governments are considering whether to introduce legislation to allow voluntary assistance in dying. I support legislation, with adequate safeguards against abuse, to achieve this objective. 19/9/2017
The logic of recognising this right of people close to death from terminal conditions is compelling: a doctor's duty is to relieve suffering; some suffering will only be relieved by death. A doctor's duty is to respect a patient's autonomy; some patients rationally and persistently request assistance to die.
Over the past 10 days The Age has endeavoured to outline the nuances and arguments associated with the assisted-dying legislation currently before State Parliament. Our goal has been to help Victorians understand how it would work and help them make their minds up about whether they support it or not. October 16, 2017