- Last Updated: 12 April 2015
- Published: 26 January 2010
- Written by David Swanton
The right to die with dignity is justifiable
1. I have provided substantial arguments in favour of voluntary euthanasia and the rights of an individual to choose how they should die and rebutted the major objections to voluntary euthanasia. Australia’s current legislative regime for euthanasia is violates an individual’s fundamental rights, is inappropriate in a multicultural society, runs contrary to popular opinion, is economically unsound, causes unnecessary pain and suffering, and is inhumane. It denies individuals the rights to their own lives.
2. If the status quo were to remain in Australia, it would have a deleterious effect upon those patients who would like to have the option of voluntary euthanasia. The right to die might be a right that is only ever exercised by a small minority of the population: terminally ill patients for whom palliative care is inappropriate, or perhaps people who might choose the option of rational suicide. However, those opposed to voluntary euthanasia should not, including by legislative fiat, deny individuals the right to die with dignity.
3. The arguments I have presented stand on their own if they are considered with an open mind, devoid as far as possible of any cultural, religious or other bias. They lead to the conclusion that the Medical Services (Dying with Dignity) Bill ought be enacted, possibly with amendments. If all individuals are to be respected, then Australia must observe the right to die with dignity. Despite the claims of those who oppose voluntary euthanasia, they do not know what is better for terminally ill patients more than the patients themselves. The rights of an individual must prevail.