Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021
The voluntary assisted dying bill (euthanasia) is currently been debated in the lower house of NSW Parliament and is expected to be debated in the upper house of NSW parliament when it resumes around February 2022. (1)
The proposed bill
The proposed bill will allow an adult with a terminal illness that will result in death within six or 12 months for a person with a neurological condition (2) to seek physician assistance with dying.
If passed, the euthanasia bill, would allow limiting access to people with terminal illnesses.(3)
My heart breaks as I recall when my late father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, he was given 3-6 months to live, however ended surpassing their expectation, and lived for over 2 years with good quality of life, using available treatments.
We would have been devastated to know that there would be limited access to treatment due to his medical condition. I ask, how many people would have urgent medical treatment “limited” or stopped early?
Health professional requirements
As a health professional, we have been trained to treat all people equally no matter what their age, gender, race or health maybe.
The bill proposes that health professionals are required to submit a conscience objection every time they decline to provide euthanasia.
Many health professionals feel the bill is not necessary, as it may subject the health professionals to unjust scrutiny (4) every time they decline to assist and perform physician assistance euthanasia.
Sanctity of life
Many people of all walks of life promote the importance of saving lives. Similarly, most if not all religions share the sanctity of saving a life.
The Talmud states that, “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world”. (5) While the Quran states that “whoever saves one life it is as if they have saved humanity ” (6)
There had been numerous reported cases overseas, where the dosage wasn’t enough and the patient endured significantly more pain and suffering. The bill stipulates that where a patient has “decided to self-administer a voluntary assisted dying substance and has not revoked the decision, the patient is authorised to receive, possess, prepare and self-administer a dose of a voluntary assisted dying substance that is sufficient to cause death” (7)
Call to action
I urge the broader community to voice their concerns directly to their local NSW member of parliament. Our aim is to help people heal, rather than help them die.
Sign the petition: https://www.change.org/Say-No-to-Physician-assisted-suicide
We seek a bipartisan support as together, we can make a difference.
5. Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Yerushalmi Talmud 4:9
6. Quran 5:32