Medical Assisted Euthanasia: Arguments For Legalising

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English Assignment Topic: Euthanasia (Agree)

Thesis: Medical Assisted Euthanasia should be legalised in all Australian states.

  • Point 1: Full-time carers of a loved one wont have to give up there livelihood to care for someone with a terminal illness.
  • Point 2: People suffering of a terminal illness can be relieved of their suffering.
  • Point/Rebuttal 3: Laws can be put in place to protect vulnerable people from coercion and abuse.
  • Point 4: Its what Australian’s want.

Repetition, Facts, Statistics, Expert Opinion, Alliteration, Evidence, Anecdote, Similes, Thesis.

“Euthanasia is an intentional act to end the life of another person in order to relieve that person’s suffering” (Queensland University of Technology, 2019). I strongly believe in the legalisation of medical assisted euthanasia in Australia. Euthanasia would give people the option to end unbearable pain and suffering that comes with terminal diseases, it could mean that family members, spouses, and children won’t have to become full time carers and give up their livelihood. Many Australians also want Euthanasia to be legalised as they start to think about what they would want and lastly many laws can also control abuse and coercion that come with the option of euthanasia. Medical Euthanasia has already been legalised in Victoria following much debate and research which therefore supports my argument. These are just a handful of the many reasons as to why Medical Assisted Euthanasia should be legalised in Australia.

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Many people in Australia become full time carers for their loved ones when they fall ill. When people become terminally ill, they won’t necessarily have to be in a hospital and will need a career at home, some can’t afford a full time carer and turn to their loved ones for help, whether that be a wife or husband, friend or child. This can cause the patient much guilt. Many people that end up caring for a loved one will have to work less or even quit all together, this can cause financial hardship for that person and much stress. Care giving can be very frustrating and painful, and the person may develop severe feelings of sadness and emotional distress (American Cancer Society, 2016). They may feel sadness and grief over their loved ones illness and get frustrated when trying to deal with the many difficult problems. Care givers can also develop physical symptoms like tiredness and trouble sleeping and depression is a common thing amongst care givers (American Cancer Society, 2016). When someone is terminally ill, and has little to no quality of life, Medical Euthanasia can relive their suffering and their care givers suffering.

People with a Terminal Illness should definitely be given the option of Medical Assisted Euthanasia to end suffering. The term ‘Terminal Illness’ indicates a disease that will continue to progress and is incurable. No treatments will eliminate the disease but can only make the sufferer as comfortable as possible, death is usually always imminent. (Holland, 2018). For many terminal illnesses like cancer, motor neuron diseases and advanced heart disease the end stages can be very painful and depressing for the patient. John, age 47, “As long as I lay still in bed, I’m okay – no pain, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life flat on my back in bed!” (American Cancer Society, 2016). Patients also have to adapt to a way of living where many simple things are relied upon and previous independence is taken away. Nurses or Care Givers may have to bath them, feed them, dress them. Machines also assist with breathing if they no longer can, speaking for them and feeding them with a tube through the stomach to provide nutrition. This would understandably make patients feel very uncomfortable and upset. “A friend personally known to our family, was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), ALS is a degenerative disorder of specific nerve cells of the spinal cord, brain and brain stem. It results in the gradual loss of muscle control leading to paralysis and heart and lung failure (Brain Foundation, n.d). The suffering caused by pain, guilt and not being able to live a fulfilling lifestyle caused him to take his own life while he was still capable of taking matters into his own hands. Taking his own life was more upsetting and confronting for the family, opposed to a peaceful medical assisted euthanasia.” (Kim Rickards, 2019)

Many people worry about the restrictions around who can get medical euthanasia and if it will be controlled properly. There a strict laws that can be followed that Victoria uses that decides who can have a medically assisted euthanasia and laws to protect abuse and coercion that may come with its legalisation. In Victoria for patients to be eligible they must have 6 months to live but there were exceptions for sufferers of conditions such as motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis (Edwards, 2017). A three step process has to be undergone by patients involving two independent medial assessments, they must be over the age of 18, have a sound mind, have lived in Victoria for at least 12 months and be suffering in a way that the person deems intolerable and that cannot be relieved (Edwards, 2017). They must also administer the drug themselves unless physically unable. The state has also included new criminal offences to protect vulnerable persons from abuse and coercion and there is a special board to review all cases (Edwards, 2017). The Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said, ‘We’ve had some frustrating moments, but ultimately we have landed in a place where Victorians who have confronted terminal illnesses, that are enduring unbearable pains, will have a safe and compassionate option around assisted dying.’ Laws like this can no doubt control how medical Assisted Euthanasia is used if legalised and certainly protect people susceptible to coercion.

Lastly, A large percentage of the Australian public agree that Medical Assisted Euthanasia should be made legal. A nationwide poll of 1,032 people conducted by Essential Research in 2017 has found that 73% of Australians support voluntary assisted dying. The respondents were asked, “If someone with a terminal illness who is experiencing unbelievable suffering asks to die, should a doctor be allowed to assist them to die?” Although 15% disagreed and 12% were undecided, the strongest support was for Euthanasia. Most people who agreed were aged above 55, which wasn’t unusual because as they start to get older they think about their own future and that of their loved ones (Edelman, 2017). The president of Dying with Dignity NSW, Dr Sarah Edelman, said “the findings should make it clear to politicians that the majority of Australians want a change in the law”. This just proves that it’s not only myself that wants Medical Assisted Euthanasia to be legalised but most of the Australian public, and it’s something for the politicians to really think about.

Medical Assisted Euthanasia would change people lives, it will end people’s unbearable suffering, they could decide when they want to leave this world and not the disease. Family members wont have to watch they loved ones live in pain and suffer themselves due to the immense amount of sadness and stress. Majority of Australia wants Euthanasia not just a small portion. Everyone agrees and wants this change, to legalise Euthanasia. People shouldn’t have to suffer, Family’s shouldn’t have to suffer and Medical Assisted Euthanasia should be legalised.


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