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Euthanasia in Australia

Uploaded by mysticivory on Oct 26, 2001

What is it and how is it performed?
Euthanasia is the practice of ending a life so as to release an individual from an incurable disease or intolerable suffering. The term is sometimes used generally to refer to an easy or painless death. Voluntary euthanasia involves a request by the dying patient or that person's legal representative. Passive or negative euthanasia involves not doing something to prevent death—that is, allowing someone to die. Active or positive euthanasia involves taking deliberate action to cause a death.

Where in Australia is it accepted by law?
On the 25th of May 1995, Australia's Northern Territory legislative assembly approved a euthanasia bill. It went into effect in 1996 and was overturned by the Australian Parliament in 1997.

What laws exist to govern the procedure?
Organizations supporting the legalization of voluntary euthanasia were established in Great Britain in 1935 and in the United States in 1938. They have gained some public support, but so far they have been unable to achieve their goal in either nation. In the last few decades, Western laws against passive and voluntary euthanasia have slowly eased, although serious moral and legal questions still exist.

Why is euthanasia a contentious issue?
Euthanasia is a contentious issue because there are so many reasons why people believe euthanasia should be or should not be legally accepted. Because of traditional religious principles, Western laws have generally considered the act of helping someone to die a form of homicide subject to legal sanctions. Even a passive withholding of help to prevent death has frequently been severely punished. Euthanasia, however, occurs secretly in all societies, including those in which it is held to be immoral and illegal.

Life support equipment keeps people alive at a hospital. Supporters of euthanasia believe that unnecessarily prolonging life in terminally ill patients causes suffering to the patients and their family members. Many societies now permit passive euthanasia, which allows physicians to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment when directed to do so by the patient or an authorized representative.

What are some of the anticipated problems with abuse of the system?
Some opponents of euthanasia have feared that the increasing success that doctors have had in transplanting human organs might lead to abuse of the practice of euthanasia. It is now generally understood, however, that physicians will not violate the rights of the dying donor in order to help preserve the life of the organ recipient.

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Uploaded by:   mysticivory

Date:   10/26/2001

Category:   Euthanasia

Length:   2 pages (398 words)

Views:   2142

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