A free community information evening about voluntary euthanasia will be held at the Riverside Function Centre, Ballina, on Wednesday February 13 from 6.30pm.
It’s part of a regional tour by Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, who is explaining her Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill and includes special guests Professor Colleen Cartwright and Dr Philip Nitschke.
‘I know this is a sensitive and sometimes controversial issue but it has overwhelming public support and I know people want to know more.
‘That’s why I’m touring the state to explain my bill,’ said Ms Faehrmann.
About the bill
In 2013, Cate Faehrmann MLC intends to introduce the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill. The proposed legislation would ensure that a patient who has a terminal illness and who is experiencing unacceptable pain or suffering can receive assistance to end their life if that is their wish. This assistance would take the form of the provision of a substance that the patient would themselves administer, or, in the case of severe physical disability, be provided assistance to administer.
To receive assistance, patients must meet strict criteria. The patient would need to:
• be at least 18 years old
• be suffering from a terminal illness that is causing severe pain or distress unacceptable to the patient
• be fully mentally capable and able to make informed decisions
• be a resident of NSW
• have been fully informed of the diagnosis and prognosis of their disease and other options, including palliative care.
The process would involve a number of stringent safeguards including:
• The patient would have to be examined by two medical practitioners who would certify that the patient met the eligibility criteria.
• A psychiatrist would have to certify the patient was able to make an informed decision, and was not under any duress to make the request for assisted dying. A qualified social worker may also be consulted during this assessment.
• It would be a requirement that none of the health professionals involved (or their close associates) stood to receive any financial benefit from the patient’s death.
• There would be severe criminal penalties for coercion of the patient or any of the doctors by another party.
• The patient can change their mind at any stage of the process.
• No health professionals would be compelled to participate in an assisted dying process.
• A review process would be established to oversee the process and to ensure compliance. This body will provide an annual report to parliament.
• The drugs used in the assisted dying process will be subject to strict storage and supply rules.