Euthanasia

Euthanasia is a currently a hotly contested topic despite the position of international human rights laws.

In respect to voluntary euthanasia Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states: “Every human being has the inherent right to life.  This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” (1) In this declaration, the use of the word ‘arbitrarily’ is used as part of the argument for the legalisation of euthanasia based on the assumption that euthanasia is NOT  arbitrary.   Arbitrary is an ambiguous word which according to the (Oxford) dictionary definition generally means: Based on an a desire, idea, whim, chance rather than reason.

This is really what you call an exercise in semantics.

Euthanasia, assisted suicide, is not a subject to be taken lightly, especially when it comes to a violation of rights.  Many people feel that they have a right to choose how they die.  Many also fear dying, let alone a long, painful drawn out death.

There are numerous non-religious reasons for avoiding its legalisation, despite Euthanasia being wrong according to Judaism/Christian and other faith teachings.

Many arguments against euthanasia with common themes, have been raised;(2). One being that the doctor’s role is in serious question as health care professionals may be unwilling to compromise their professional roles, especially in the light of the Hippocratic Oath. There are moral reasons against euthanasia as several organisations and other faiths see euthanasia as a form of murder and morally unacceptable. Suicide, too, is “illegal” in some religions/cultures  giving them valid reasons for an argument that euthanasia will weaken society’s respect for the sanctity of life. Therefore a patient’s competence and capacity to make qualified decisions becomes paramount in this debate. Euthanasia is only voluntary if the patient is mentally competent, with a lucid understanding of available options and consequences and the ability to express that understanding and their wish to terminate their own life. Determining or defining competence is not straightforward! With an ageing society, or in cases of the terminally ill, many patients may feel they are a burden on resources, especially family, and are psychologically pressured into consenting to euthanasia. They may feel that the financial, emotional, and mental burden on their family is too great. Even if the costs of treatments are provided by the State, there is a risk that hospital personnel may have an economic incentive to encourage euthanasia consent.

A man sitting at the shed beside the street – Depression- being mentally ill is a treatable medical condition. It is now legal in some countries to Euthanise people suffering from this decease. Is this a possibility that we really want to think about here?.
UnsplashPhotos for everyone https://unsplash.com/search/photos/depression

A person with depression is more likely to ask for  assisted suicide, and this can complicate the decision. There is a risk that physician-assisted suicide will start with those who are terminally ill and wish to die because of intractable suffering, but then will begin to include other individuals with issues such as severe disabilities and depression. In Belgium it is now legal to euthanise terminally ill children as well as those who are mentally ill. Euthanasia did not begin this way but has progressed to this position. One has to ask the question, “what group will next be included in the list for legally disposable.”

 

Despite Euthanasia being wrong according to Judaism/Christian teachings, we will take a look at the likelihood of recovery-

Occasionally, a patient recovers, against all the odds; the diagnosis might be wrong, or other circumstances have played a part. But it is documented medical fact that there are terminally ill patients that have recovered.

Many health professionals believe that good palliative care makes euthanasia unnecessary. The most problematic issue presented by the legalisation of euthanasia is that it cannot be properly regulated.

Our Policy – Our Stand

* Rise Up Australia does not support euthanasia or voluntary assisted dying.  We call for a repeal of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 and promote the utilisation of other resources to maximise life and allow those who are terminally ill to die with dignity.  We uphold Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

* We will research and investigate better ways for people to die with dignity without the Euthanasia option.

For example:  > Upgrading Palliative care units and hospitals.

> Researching new drugs that can give quality of life to pain afflicted patients.

> Educating patients and care-givers/workers on ways to give terminally ill people reasons to             .                          live out there natural life rather than end it.

​​References:

(1)Australian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights and Euthanasia,

https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/rights-and-freedoms/projects/human-rights-and-euthanasia

(2) Christian Nordqvist 2017 What are euthanasia and assisted suicide?, Medical News Today, 12th December 2017,

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/182951.php?sr

Researched and written by Adehlia Theron and Yvonne Gentle

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