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Monday 15 September 2014

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Twelve principles of law reform

  1. All people have the fundamental right to die with dignity.
  2. Voluntary euthanasia, which is a request for an assisted death, should be one of the choices available to competent adults who want to die with dignity.
  3. People should be able to ask for voluntary euthanasia on the basis of having a terminal illness or of having a serious physical illness or condition which causes them unacceptable suffering or distress (that is, on the basis of having a quality of life which is unacceptable to them).
  4. Any decision about how to die must be made on the basis of informed consent. People should be informed of their diagnosis, their prognosis, their options in responding to their condition and all other relevant information.
  5. Informed consent without the means to act on one's choice is not sufficient. People should have access to the appropriate means, whether the choice is to continue therapeutic care, to withdraw from therapeutic care, for palliative care or voluntary euthanasia.
  6. A request for euthanasia must be made freely, voluntarily and without duress and must be clearly expressed.
  7. Only a doctor may prescribe the means to effect a death.
  8. If a person needs physical assistance to end their lives i.e. they are unable to move their limbs, they should have the right to nominate whoever they choose to administer that assistance.
  9. Any person requested to give assistance in a death by voluntary euthanasia has the right to refuse that assistance.
  10. People who assist others to die, in good faith and in keeping with the expressed wish of those others, should be immune from criminal and civil liability.
  11. There should be sufficient safeguards on voluntary euthanasia to ensure that the vulnerable are protected from abuse and that all requests to die are informed, voluntary and considered.
  12. The right to voluntary euthanasia and the placing of appropriate safeguards should be achieved through legislation that specifically legalizes the act of euthanasia.