Doctors in the Netherlands are able to carry out euthanasia on patients with severe dementia without fear of prosecution even if the patient no longer expresses an explicit wish to die, the country’s highest court has ruled.
In a shocking decision by the German Federal Constitutional Court it has been declared that the right to get assistance to commit suicide - even from commercial organisations - for any person, with no requirement for any medical condition or for suffering, is a fundamental right so that the State cannot pass laws unduly restricting the free exercise of this right.
Legalising euthanasia for any Queensland adult with a medical condition that two doctors or nurses think “will cause death” someday has been recommended by a parliamentary committee.
The Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee of the Queensland Parliament has, in a report tabled on 31 March 2020, recommended that “the Queensland Government use the well-considered draft legislation submitted to the inquiry by Professors Lindy Willmott and Ben White as the basis for a legislative scheme for voluntary assisted dying.”
That draft legislation would legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide for any person over 18 years of age, with “an incurable, advanced and progressive medical condition that” two doctors say “will cause death”.
The Committee recommended also allowing two registered nurses to make the eligibility assessment and one of the nurses to administer the lethal poison to kill the person.
Victoria's Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board’s Report of operations June to December 2019 reports that 43 people died by assisted suicide following ingestion of a prescribed lethal substance and 9 people were killed by euthanasia by a physician - 52 people in total – between 19 June 2019 and 31 December 2019.
This represents approximately 0.25% of all deaths in Victoria for the period. It is worth noting that it took fourteen years of legalised assisted suicide before Oregon got to this rate in 2012. (The rate has now doubled there to 0.5% of all deaths in 2019).
Belgium’s experiment with euthanasia has expanded its scope continually over the past 17 years with deaths by legal euthanasia increasing more than elevenfold from 235 in 2003 to 2,655 in 2019. The increase just from 2018 to 2019 was 12.6%.
Of deaths by euthanasia in 2019 some 16.9% (448 cases) involved people whose deaths were not expected in the foreseeable future.
In 2019 some 49 people with psychiatric disorders were killed by euthanasia. And in 2016 and 2017 three children (ages 9, 11 and 17) were euthanased. A fourth child was euthanased in 2019.
The latest release of data on Oregon’s 22 year old experiment with assisted suicide reinforces how flawed this fatal experiment is, including the fundamental concern that as there is no witness known to be present in four out of ten cases in which the lethal poison is ingested it may have been administered to them by a family member or other person under duress, surreptitiously or violently. Such is the design of this assisted suicide scheme that we can never now.
What we do know is that assisted suicide is being chosen more for existential reasons, including feeling a burden on family and friends (59% of cases in 2019) than because of any concern about inadequate pain control (mentioned by 26.6% of people overall).
Numbers continue to rise at an average rate of 15% per annum since 1999 so that now one in 200 (0.5%) of all deaths in Oregon are by ingestion of a lethal poison under Oregon's assisted suicide law.