Euthanasia debate – opinion piece

It could be argued that the debate on Euthanasia is one of the most controversial issues of our time. All terminally ill patients have to deal with excruciating emotional and/or physical pain but some face the difficult decision as to whether or not they wish to take their lives. These patients not only have to deal with their personal suffering, but have to take into consideration how the choice of euthanasia will affect others around them. The article I have chosen highlights the debate and affects of Euthanasia and Physician Assisted suicides(PAS) across Australia and the rest of the world. The author gives light to the political side of the argument by discussing the proposed euthanasia bill for Tasmania, comparing it to the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act passed in the Northern Territory in 1995, that was later overturned by the Commonwealth in 1997. I have sourced my article from George Williams, a Professor of Law from the University of New South Wales and a writer for The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, published on: 27/02/2013. I chose to research the topic of Euthanasia because the article represents the opinions and statements of both advocates and opponents of euthanasia therefore being non-biased. I was intrigued and fascinated by the arguments presented for and against euthanasia and how those opinions are interpreted in the medical and political industries. I am an advocate of euthanasia and personally believe that someone suffering physically and/or mentally should have the choice of whether they want to live or die. I believe that if euthanasia was to be passed in any new area, that strict boundaries would need to be put in place to regulate the degree in which it takes place. George Williams boldly states in the article that ” Australians overwhelmingly believe that people with a terminal illness should be able to end their life with the assistance of a doctor.” The evidence behind this statement is that the government has conducted a poll on the Australian public for many years. The most recent poll has proved that overall, eighty-two percent of Australians want to legalise voluntary euthanasia with lethal dose. Below shows the most recent poll results in each Australian state. Image sourced from: Neil Francis(June, 2012) Nationally, eighty-two per cent of respondents agreed a doctor should provide a lethal dose if requested by a “ hopelessly ill patient, experiencing unbelievable suffering, with absolutely no chance of recovering” while thirteen per cent said disagreed. I would be interested to know exactly how many terminally ill patients in Australia were for euthanasia and their different reasoning’s as to why. It would also be interesting to hear the reasoning’s behind those people whom are against euthanasia. I found it alarming that it is legal for terminally ill patients to starve themselves to death by to not be allowed the choice to die pain free, with medical assistance. In my opinion, the act of allowing euthanasia to end pain needs to be an upcoming government decision. Statistics support that many other Australians share this same opinion. The fact it is legal to put our pets to sleep when they suffer from a specific illness or from old age should be interpreted in a similar way to if our Grandparents become hopelessly ill. They do not get the choice to end their lives but must be kept alive in a hospital bed or in a nursing home waiting for the rest of their ‘lives’ until the day their body finally stops. This could be for days or many years. I personally see that as mere torture. I am not comparing an elderly person to a dog or a cat, but instead highlighting the fact that the morals behind voluntary euthanasia are very much the same. I do not see it as murder, I believe it is a personal right. I find it hard to understand why someone should have to live their life hooked up to numerous machines, riddled with painful cancers or paralysis. I believe that if the government continue taking this issue seriously, they will gain stronger support amongst the community, helping them to succeed in the legalisation of euthanasia in Tasmania. Tasmania would lead the nation, which would hopefully put pressure on the other members of parliament around the country to listen to the opinions of society and take action. In order to transform my personal opinion into an academic opinion, I would need provide creditable, in-text sources and paraphrase when necessary. I would need to write in third-person form using formal language. I would need to relate to more than one article and research further in depth the advantages and disadvantages of euthanasia. I would need to provide multiple professional opinions and further evidence and more recent information regarding the topic. REFERENCE LIST: Francis, N. (2012).  Support Euthanasia Poll. Retrieved from http://www. australianageingagenda. com. au/2012/12/06/article/Wide-support-for-euthanasia-poll/BZBAQTGAML. Government, N. T. (1995).  The Rights Of The Terminally Ill Act 1995.  Retrieved from http://www. nt. gov. au/lant/parliamentary-business/committees/rotti/rotti95. pdf George Williams, University of NSW (27/2/2013).  Tasmania leads way on voluntary euthanasia.  Retrieved from http://www. smh. com. au/opinion/politics/tasmania-leads-way-on-voluntary-euthanasia-20130226-2f3wt. html