The state of Victoria in Australia becomes the first state in the country to legalize assisted dying. After two and a half years of debate, the Lower House granted a win to the state government Premier, Daniel Andrews, who had lobbied for the bill. The law allows residents of Victoria with a terminal disease to obtain a lethal injection within ten days of the request. However, preference goes to those with a lifespan of six months and below. The state joins Netherlands, Canada, Colombia, Belgium, and some states in the US in legalizing euthanasia. Some states in the US allows the doctor to suggest a means through which patients may terminate their lives without necessarily participating in the act.
The law seeks to avert physical suffering for the terminally ill. According to Mr. Andrews, the law allows the sick to die with dignity. A similar bill proposed in Australia was struck down by the Federal government in 1997. A patient benefiting from the injection must have been a resident of the state for the last one year. The drug can be administered on behalf of the patient if they cannot do it themselves.
Before the drug gets administered, thorough vetting of the patient gets conducted. Additionally, a doctor may not at any circumstance suggest the idea of ending one’s life. While those opposed to the bill cited that the decision of euthanasia should be left in the hands of the doctors, Dr. Baker said that the matter is ultimately a job for the government and the society. The amendments made the law more restrictive as compared to similar laws passed in different jurisdictions. However, there’re concerns about the ability to interpret and manipulate the law to suit one’s purpose. In the modern society, it’s possible to prolong life. As a result and by default, it’s also possible to extend suffering and pain. It would only be prudent to avail a method of stopping the pain as a last resort.