The conversations of life

The “compassionate choice”: NSW Government to vote on voluntary assisted dying

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Terminally ill NSW residents aged over 25 would have the legal right to ask for medical assistance to end their own lives under a new draft bill that will be put to Parliament later this year.

Under the legislation, which is the result of two years’ work by a cross-party group of MPs, patients would have to be in severe pain or physical incapacity and be likely to die within 12 months.

They would also need to be examined by two doctors, including a specialist, as well as an independent psychiatrist or psychologist.

Other safeguards would include a cooling-off period of 48 hours, and the right for close relatives to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court.

Not the ‘easy way out’

The push for NSW MPs to support the bill is being led by Anne Gabrielides, a 53-year-old terminally ill mother with Motor Neurone Disease, who has launched a change.org petition. At last count, it had over 65,000 signatures.

Ms Gabrielides says she just wants the “compassionate choice”. “Don’t worry, I plan on milking every drop of life out of my existence, but I want the right to choose my ending,” she writes.

Currently voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide is illegal in every Australian state and territory.

But that doesn’t stop some from trying to end their own lives – often in ways that cause great suffering for both them and their families.

This law will simply make the path easier for someone – if they want to make that choice. As Anne says: “If I can deny this disease its last victory, it will be a fine day.”

You can watch Anne’s video and sign her petition here.

Lauren Broomham

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.


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