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Euthanasia should be legalised in Queensland under very strict conditions - Discuss.

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Introduction

Summary Assisting or aiding another to commit suicide is classified as euthanasia. This topic is an extremely controversial issue, which has caused much legal, social and political debate between opposing stakeholders. Many professional medical practitioners and chief religious groups have been in great conflict with each other regarding this debatable issue. No state or territory in Australia has presently adopted laws permitting euthanasia. The Northern Territory's Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1996, made euthanasia available to the terminally ill patients of that state, however this act was blocked in 1997. There are many issues revolving around this controversial topic but with the right laws and appropriate guidelines euthanasia could become available to those terminally ill patients who so desperately request it. 1.0 Hypothesis This report will take the view that Euthanasia should be legalised in Queensland under very strict conditions. 2.0 Introduction Euthanasia is a highly emotive topic that deals with unsettling issues, which people often choose to disregard. The dispute revolving around this topic has resulted in the development of many general and emotive issues, which have caused both societal and political debate. Many believe that the intentional killing of another person is wrong, despite their unfortunate status of being terminally ill, having endured years of suffering and pain and having completely lost their dignity and pride. Advocates of euthanasia generally insist that this procedure should require informed consent and should only be used in cases of terminal illness that causes unbearable suffering. However, their opposition view voluntary euthanasia as the beginning of compulsory euthanasia or a licence to kill for physicians. Various religious groups, primarily Christians, object to the impassive idea of legalising euthanasia, as they believe life belongs to God. However, 76% of Australians claim that they want the freedom of choice to manage their own deaths and for this reason Bills, regarding euthanasia, have been introduced in the parliaments of various states within Australia. ...read more.

Middle

He made clear that Crick's views, opinions and emotions were available for the public to access via the Internet (www.vesv.org.au). Nancy's diary entries were put onto the Internet and the public had the opportunity to write and ask questions about her condition. In her last diary entry (refer to Appendix 4) Nancy said 'despite the best surgery and palliative care, my life has deteriorated to such an extent that I feel that death would be a blessed relief. But I could not legally get help to do this and the Premier, Mr Beattie says the law will not change' (http://www.exitaustralia.net). Nancy sought advice from pro euthanasia supporter Phillip Nitchski when she was unable to obtain any relief of her symptoms that were deteriorating her body, life and dignity. Although Nitchski was not present when Nancy passed away, many blamed him for manipulating and persuading Crick to put an end to her misery by putting an end to her life (www.vesv.org.au). Nancy Crick was terminally ill at the time of her death. Her symptoms included immense weight loss, constant and agonising pain, constant vomiting and major operations. Palliative care was of no benefit and eventually she refused all treatment (www.smh.com.au). For these reasons, Nancy decided her life had come to an end and believed it was her time to go. Her inspiring story was a major turning point for the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Queensland, and has gained pro euthanasia support from many people. Many people today suffer similar symptoms to Nancy's and would benefit from the legalisation of euthanasia being introduced into Queensland. If the community accepts this law, it may be a turning point for other pro euthanasia campaigns in Australia's states and territories. 7.0 Political Movements: Very few nations around the world have adopted legislation permitting voluntary euthanasia. On April 1, 2002 a bill, allowing terminally ill patients to request assistance regarding suicide, was passed in the Netherlands Upper House. ...read more.

Conclusion

These guidelines will make euthanasia available to the terminally ill but restrict it from those who are not, for example the handicapped, the disabled and the defective (Mike Hume, Times, p.16) Pro-life encourages that there is no good reason to end a life. They support the idea that many good and unfortunate events occur throughout life, but that's what its all about. Pro-euthanasia 10.0 Recommendations Euthanasia should be legalised to the terminally ill citizens of Queensland and under strict conditions this can be made possible. These conditions must be made entirely clear in the legislation and greater emphasis should be put on the patient's absolute consent. Legislation should include these five main conditions: * Only registered medical practitioner may carry out active voluntary euthanasia * The patient must explicitly request active euthanasia is such a way that there can be no doubt concerning his or her desire to die * The patient's decision must be well-informed, voluntary and enduring * There must be no available way of improving the patient's condition which is acceptable to the patient * The medical practitioner must consult at least two other medical practitioners (who also have to confirm the above points) (Giles, 1989, p. 125) If these five conditions are clearly identified, doctors will not be given total control of the situation. This reduces the chance of voluntary euthanasia evolving into compulsory euthanasia. If order of legalising this procedure sections 284, 296 and 311 need to be completely left out of the Criminal Code and the conditions outlined in the Northern Territory's Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1996(see Appendix 5) need to be considered. Once these amendments are made many terminally ill patients will feel they have control over their lives and will be able to endure a peaceful and lawful death at their own choice. (McLean, Britton, 1997, p. 39) This will reduce the number of unhappy patients and families, as they will not be required to endure or watch a loved one endure such worthless and agonising pain. ...read more.

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