World Suicide Prevention Day which was observed on 10 September ought to be a time to focus on suicide prevention for all people.
Monica Burke has written an insightful article on the way the promotion of assisted suicide for some people undermines this focus. "This practice promotes the idea that some lives are more valuable than others, an idea that rips apart the social fabric of our nation. No one should receive suicide assistance over suicide prevention."
Over one hundred people attended the launch of the Australian Care Alliance in the Melbourne suburb of Balwyn on Tuesday the 28th pf August, to view the film Fatal Flaws and hear from doctors and MPs about the Alliance’s aim of stopping assisted suicide laws throughout Australia.
The Western Australian End of Life Choices committee has recommended an assisted suicide framework that is much more radical even than the Victorian scheme. Rather than limiting access only to people with terminal illness it is proposed to include chronic and neurodegenerative conditions “where death is reasonably foreseeable as a result of the condition”. In Canada similar phrasing has already been interpreted by the Ontario Supreme Court as applying to a 77 year old woman with osteoarthritis – a non-fatal condition.
Additionally doctors who object to assisted suicide will be forced to refer to a doctor willing to assist suicide.
Advocates for assisted suicide like comedian Andrew Denton are quick to play the bigot and reject all opposing views as irrelevant because the opponent happens to be religious. This article by atheist and progressive ("liberal" in the UK) Kevin Yuill gives the lie to this dismissive bigotry. Assisted suicide laws should be opposed by any thoughtful person who reflects on the evidence and arguments.
Every two years the Belgium Federal Commission on the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia presents a report detailing statistics and developments in the practice of euthanasia in Belgium.
Overall the impression is that euthanasia practice in Belgium continues on the path of normalising euthanasia as the go-to response to an ever increasing range of circumstances including children with disabilities, uncompleted suicides and victims of child abuse.
At 7.03 pm on Wednesday 15 August the Senate rejected the Leyonhjelm Assisted Suicide Bill by 36-34 votes, which would have paved the way for assisted suicide to be legalised in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory (NT).
With Senators from all parties having a conscience vote on the Bill – a clear sign that it was essentially about assisted suicide rather than territories rights – the outcome of the vote was difficult to predict, with several Senators changing their position as the vote drew closer.