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.
As reported in a previous blog on the latest report on deaths by assisted suicide in Vermont, the report states:
100% of the death certificates listed the appropriate cause (the underlying disease) and manner of death (natural), per Act 39 requirements.
This is a curious statement as Act 39 as passed by the Vermont legislature and in force does not include any such requirement.
This matter was raised with the Vermont Department of Health. The reply seems to confirm that when it comes to reporting on assisted suicide officials simply make it up as they go along.
Vermont was the third US State to legalise assisted suicide in May 2013. Since then only two reports have been issued with very minimal data. Essentially this a fatally flawed experiment carried out in the dark.
A euthanasia bill has just passed the final hurdle to become law in Western Australia. Unsurprisingly the Bill was rammed through Parliament after a special sitting was called to bring the debate to a close.
Adults in Western Australia will be eligible to access assisted suicide or euthanasia if they have a terminal illness with less than six months to live (or 12 months if they have been diagnosed with a neurodegenerative condition).
The patient must also make three requests (one in writing and two verbal) which would be reviewed by two medical practitioners.
Western Australia is set to become the 18th jurisdiction in the world to legalise some form of assisted suicide or euthanasia. Last week its state upper house voted resoundingly in favour of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 24 to 11. A special sitting of the lower house on Tuesday is expected to consider some amendments and then pass it into law.
Labor Premier Mark McGowan has dismissed concerns about the government-sponsored law as “ridiculous”, and has accused opponents of “scaremongering”. He is being unduly sanguine. The Western Australian assisted dying bill is significantly more permissive than the one passed by Victoria in 2017.
At 4.11pm on Thursday, 5 December 2019, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 passed its third reading vote in the Legislative Council of the Parliament of Western Australia by a decisive vote of 24 to 11.
Only one member changed her vote between the second and third readings: Labor MP Adele Farina.
In her speech explaining her vote Ms Farina highlighted the defeat of a series of amendments designed to address the inherent problems with a law permitting the prescription of a lethal substance for a person to keep at home for self-administration at some later time.