Monica Doumit: Regime of killing is claiming more lives

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Physician-assisted suicide has been legal since 1995 in the US state of Montana.

As I write this, the results for the New South Wales election have not been finalised, particularly as to who will be in the Upper House. At this stage, it seems that the Christian Democratic Party have been unable to retain their two seats in that House, which is a shame, given that their two votes made the difference in stopping the euthanasia vote last time it came to the NSW Parliament.

It’s not all bad news, though. It also appears that Senator David Leyonjhelm’s tilt at a state seat has also been unsuccessful, and so he will not be able to push his euthanasia agenda in this state.

It’s not just NSW that has had a big week of news when it comes to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Despite its parliament rejecting euthanasia legislation 15 times, the South Australian Government has announced that it will conduct an inquiry into legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide in that state.

Related article: Euthanasia leads to bracket creep

The Australian Capital Territory also released a report about safeguards that would need to be in place for any euthanasia regime introduced there (even though federal legislation currently prevents them from doing so).

And the West Australian Health Minister, Roger Cook, announced a timeline for that state’s introduction of euthanasia that was so outrageous that the Western Australian branch of the Australian Medical Association had to publicly express its concerns about the risks of such a hasty process.

I’m sure the doctors could have given a hundred reasons why brushing over important issues in order to arrive at a predetermined outcome is bad for vulnerable people in WA, but I will focus on just one: the slippery slope. For those unfamiliar with the term, the “slippery slope” refers to the expansion of euthanasia and assisted suicide regimes to include more and more people once the legislation has passed.

Almost seven people each month in Belguim are euthanised although they are experiencing no physical suffering, according to HOPE.

In a report released in August of last year, the WA parliamentary committee tasked with looking at end-of-life issues dealt quickly and dismissively with the question of the existence of a ‘slippery slope’ in jurisdictions overseas where euthanasia and assisted suicide have been legalised.

After only a cursory treatment of the expansion of euthanasia regimes overseas, the report found:

“Although Belgium expanded its law to make euthanasia available to legally competent minors in 2014, this should not be seen as supporting the slippery slope argument that further expansion of the assisted dying laws is somehow an inevitability. The experience in Oregon, where the law has undergone no change or expansion since its introduction in 1997, demonstrates the invalidity of any attempt to apply a universal slippery slope argument.”

The finding is not only disingenuous, but it’s wrong.

The “slippery slope” issue in Belgium is not confined to the expansion of euthanasia to minors, as this finding suggests.

Related story: I’m dying and I reject euthanasia

HOPE, an Australian organisation that is dedicated to the fight against euthanasia, reports that the latest statistics out of Belgium reveal that “more than a person a week is being put to death for a mental or behavioural disorder only; close to seven people each month are being put to death even though they are experiencing no physical suffering; close to a person a day is dying even though they are not expected to die in the short term; and close to two people each month are being put to death even though they are unconscious, with doctors relying on previous euthanasia requests to provide a lethal injection.”

The slippery slope isn’t only about minors. It’s about expanding a regime of killing to people who should be protected, not put to sleep.

Even their praise of the Oregon situation is incorrect.

David Jones, detailing the latest figures to come out of Oregon’s assisted suicide regime,  reveals some real problems with the Oregonian system so highly praised by our legislators.

Importantly, he tells us that Oregon is getting ready to expand its assisted suicide regime to include more categories of people. If the legislation currently before Congress is passed, a person’s death will no longer need to be imminent in order for them to be given lethal drugs, and patients with degenerative diseases like dementia will also be allowed to have the State’s help to take their own lives. Additionally, waiting periods would be done away with in certain circumstances, so that patients deemed a greater risk of dying sooner could be killed on the same day they first made a request for assisted suicide.

The suggestion that Oregon proves that the slippery slope does not exist may soon be incorrect. But I would bet money that those in WA will not address this in their next round of reporting. For one thing, they’re going to be too rushed to do it!