Euthanasia is the act of deliberately ending a person’s life in order to relieve that person’s pain or suffering. There are many different forms and methods, there is Active Euthanasia, which is when a person deliberately causes the patient’s death; Passive Euthanasia is where the doctor does not directly end the person’s life, they simply let them to die. (There are many pros and cons of Euthanasia, but from those there are several social implications, like the methods on how a judge determines if a person is mentally competent enough to be eligible for Euthanasia.
Euthanasia should be legalised all over Australia, however, only to the extent of those who are suffering from some sort of terminal illness or pain.
P1: Analysis of Australian laws
The laws on Euthanasia throughout Australia vary from state to state. For example, Euthanasia is highly illegal in Queensland but, in Victoria, according to the ‘Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017’, “The Legislative Council agreed to motion … Laws in Victoria to allow citizens to make informed decisions regarding their own end of life choices.” This means that if it is proven that the patient (or legal guardian thereof,) has suitable knowledge of their options, if they choose so, the patient may submit to Euthanasia, but this act will only begin in 2020. However, for that patient to access any Euthanasia methods, they must meet strict criteria. They must be an 18+ year old Australian Citizen, or have lived in Victoria for at least 12 months, they must be competent enough to make such a big decision and they must be suffering from some form of incurable disease or pain that will cause death within 6 months.
P2: Judges (How do they determine if a person is eligible for Euthanasia?)
‘Decision-making capacity’ is defined as “A person has decision-making capacity in relation to Voluntary Assisted Dying if the person is able to understand the information relevant to the decision relating to access to Voluntary Assisted Dying and the effect of the decision, and retain that information to the extent necessary to make the decision…and communicate the decision…by speech, gestures or other means.” (Parliament of Victoria, Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017.)
In simple terms, the ability to make a decision about Voluntary Assisted Dying is determined by the capacity to understand information about Euthanasia, the repercussions such a decision will have and find a way to communicate their decision.