In the lead speech opposing the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 which would legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide in Western Australia, the Hon Nick Goiran powerfully enunciated the case that it was impossible to create a scheme which could guarantee that there would be no wrongful deaths due to medical errors, elder abuse and patient steering and a lack of equitable access to palliative care.
In a report released on 9 October 2019 entitled "the dangers of assisted laws" the (US) National Council on Disability has reiterated its longstanding opposition to legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia, concluding after a comprehensive review of the available evidence that:
States should not legalize any form of assisted suicide or active euthanasia, whether called by these terms or any other terms. States must, rather, ensure a strong healthcare system that includes LTSS [long-term services and supports] for all, including people with disabilities with or without a terminal prognosis; ensure that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination; and provide services that enable independent living and supported self-determination for people with disabilities.
In the final three days of consideration in detail of Western Australia’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019, from 17 to 19 September 2019, like the three wise monkeys, the Minister for Health, Roger Cook would see no evil (ignoring real risks of wrongful deaths); the Attorney-General John Quigley would hear no evil (ridiculing members asking probing questions) and the Premier, Mark McGowan would speak no evil (inadvertently admitting taking a poison under his bill IS suicide).
The district court in the Hague has ruled that a person with dementia may be euthanased even if the person is actively resisting the process provided that an advanced directive requesting euthanasia was completed when the person was considered competent.
The case involved a 74 year old woman whose coffee was drugged and who was forcibly restrained by family members while a doctor administered a lethal injection. She had said just a few days before that she didn't want to die.
However, the Court ruled that as she was now demented neither her contemporary expressions of a desire to live nor her active resistance were of any legal value. They were trumped by her previous written declaration.
The Hansard of the debate on Western Australia's assisted suicide and euthanasia bill discloses the following insights from the three man tag wrestling team of Labor ministers attempting in an all-night sitting to explain and justify this Bill with its alleged 102 safeguards.
Premier Mark McGowan confirmed that there will be absolutely no oversight by the Review Board of the appropriateness of any referral made by either of the two assessing doctors to third parties to determine the decision making capacity of the person; whether the person is being coerced or not; or the diagnosis and prognosis of a terminal illness.
The Premier also explained that the person did not have to be told about the "plan in respect of the administration of" the lethal poison but that this could be arranged between, for example, the doctor and "the husband" of "an elderly wife".
The Premier seemed confused as to whether the lethal poison would always kill or not (there have been 8 cases in Oregon where it didn't kill the person).
This entire clause is about providing the patient with as much information as possible about all the matters contained within it. One of them is to advise the patient that if they take the substance, the very likely outcome is that they will pass away. I suppose there is a need to inform the patient that they are going to die, but there is a very slim chance that the substance may not work in whatever circumstance it might be. It is just to be totally clear with the patient that, if they take the substance, they will pass away.
Which is it Premier?: "very likely they will pass away"; "very slim chance it may not work" or "they will pass away"???
Three Ministers – the Minister for Health, the Premier, and the Attorney-General - took turns at explaining (or attempting to explain) the detailed clauses of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 and defending its seaworthiness during a lengthy overnight debate on Thursday 5 to Friday 6 September 2019.
Humpty Dumpty (the Minister for Health, Roger Cook) continued his insistence that taking a lethal poison to cause one’s own death is NOT suicide because he says so in Clause 11 of his Bill and he is the master:
“this is not suicide; this is the relief of suffering at one’s hand”.
However, “If a death takes place outside the framework of this law, it will become subject to the Criminal Code and it is suicide”.
So on the Minister’s own admission the very same act – taking a lethal poison prescribed by a doctor is NOT suicide if all the right forms are lodged but is suicide if they are not all lodged correctly.