Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill

Death with dignity for the terminally ill-

Following months of delays and an extensive late-night debate, New South Wales became the last state in Australia to pass voluntary assisted dying legislation.

The bill, headed by the independent MP Alex Greenwich alongside 28 co-sponsors last year after a series of failed past attempts.

Greenwich commented that the bill marked a moment in which NSW “finally passed a threshold of honesty and compassion”.
“Honesty that not all people die well. Compassion that people with advanced and cruel terminal illnesses will have the same end-of-care options as those in every other state.” Greenwich is quoted as saying.

Its passage just after 12.30pm, 19 May 2022 a huge milestone for the state; means within 18 months people with a fatal diagnosis in NSW will be able to access voluntary assisted dying.

The bill limits access for voluntary assisted dying to people with terminal illnesses who will die within 6 months, or to 12 months. In the case of a person with a neurodegenerative condition experiencing unbearable suffering.

The person must be found to have capacity to make the decision to go ahead voluntarily without duress. The application would be assessed by two medical practitioners.

“Prior to legalisation, both euthanasia and physician assisted suicide were criminal offences.

A person found guilty of engaging in active voluntary euthanasia can be prosecuted for murder under section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

A person may additionally or alternatively be prosecuted for aiding a suicide. Which is an offence under section 31C of the Crimes Act 1900 carrying a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.”

“In 2021, Barbara Eckersley was found not guilty of murder and guilty of manslaughter of her 92-year-old mother, renowned botanist Dr Mary White. White, was paralysed and non-verbal at the time of her death. On sentence, the judge found the crime was motivated by love and despair. They ordered Eckersley to undergo treatment for her mental health condition while serving a two-year community corrections order.

On the flip side, false claims of assisted suicide were made by bona fide murderer Natasha Beth Darcy. Darcy, murdered farmer Mathew Dunbar in an attempt to inherit his multi-million dollar property in Walcha, New England.”

“When considering how these laws will be exercised, special consideration needs to be given to the rights of the person who wants to die. Whether they have mental capacity to make the request, as well as what other factors are leading to the request. It is important that in providing access to this unique right.. that the people who are making the choice to die are protected from elder abuse, bullying and coercion.

Voluntary Assisted Dying affords people to the right of choice and dignity when it comes to ending their life. It is important that we as a society ensure that the decision is an informed one and that it is not abused by people praying on vulnerable people.”

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