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Assisted dying bill reinforces deadly cultural assumptions

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Victoria’s controversial Voluntary Assisted Dying Act will come into effect on Wednesday after a
marathon parliamentary battle in late 2017, followed by a year and a half of meticulous planning
by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Under the act, terminally ill patients who meet the eligibility criteria will be permitted to access a
lethal substance that will allow them to end their lives. Where patients are unable to self-
administer the lethal medication, the substance may be administered by an authorised medical professional.

Voluntary assisted dying ... as Victoria's laws come into effect this week, other states need to consider the motivations for euthanasia and the value of palliative care.Credit:Jason South

Ostensibly this law is for patients experiencing unbearable pain and suffering at the end of life. It
will give terminally ill patients the choice of ending their lives rather than suffering.

Yet the statistics from overseas jurisdictions tell a more nuanced story. Requests for euthanasia
typically come from white patients who want to maintain a sense of control at the end of life, or
who feel that life has lost its meaning. Pain is a secondary consideration, if it is relevant at all.

It is important that legislators in other........

© The Sydney Morning Herald