Legalising physician-assisted suicide in Victoria would fundamentally change the nature of medicine and put vulnerable people at risk argues FamilyVoice Australia.

‘Allowing doctors to deliberately kill certain patients radically alters their role,’ said FamilyVoice’s National Director, Ashley Saunders. ‘Euthanasia creates a tectonic shift in health ethics and risks bringing out the worst in human nature.’

He expressed concern that the pressure for a cost-efficient health system may warp into a preference for cheap death over expensive care. Euthanasia laws implicitly tell terminally ill people that they are a burden to their loved ones and to the economy and should remove themselves. As Dying with Dignity admits, fear of being a burden is cited in 40-59% of assisted suicide requests in Oregon and Washington.[1]

Mr Saunders rejected the argument that euthanasia laws are needed to allow people to die with dignity saying, ‘People have intrinsic dignity and a deep worth that can never be diminished. It is not dependent on a certain state of health or manner of death. Respecting people’s dignity does not mean killing them off when they are most vulnerable but rather supporting them through high quality palliative care until their natural death,’ he said.

‘Euthanasia laws remain rare because we are rightly concerned about protecting vulnerable people and upholding high standards of medical ethics,’ concluded Mr Saunders. ‘I urge politicians to listen to the grave concerns of three former presidents of the AMA Victoria, and reject this dangerous bill.’

[1] Dying with Dignity NSW, Assisted dying: Setting the record straight, page 6