As the campaign to legalise voluntary assisted dying in New South Wales progresses a number of high profile supporters have spoken up in favour of this compassionate, end-of-life choice.
“It is sad and very cruel that people with a terminal illness or acute chronic pain, who feel that the quality of their life has disappeared and there is no prospect of it improving, are prevented from making their own decision about when to end it all. I do hope there are enough enlightened politicians who can reverse the situation and allow those with no other options to end their lives peacefully and at the moment of their choosing.”
Professor Fiona Stanley AC – Respected doctor and former Australian of the Year, distinguished researcher and ambassador for Dying with Dignity.
“It’s not just because I’m a humane doctor that I support voluntary assisted dying legislation (along with the majority of Australians). It is also because of personal experiences – my aunt, my husband and my mother all suffered at the end of their lives. If we had been able to give them the peaceful deaths they wanted, it would have been so much better.”
“Whose life is it anyway? Nothing could be more personal, more private, more my own than my own life…There is no virtue, no value, no nobility in suffering for its own sake…Swap places with the sufferer for a week or two before you vote Yes or No….”
“At my age I fear that I may suffer a protracted, painful and fatal illness without the option of a dignified death at a time of my own choosing. I saw my aunt go through the stages of motor neurone disease some years ago, without any opportunity of relief, such as the proposed Bill may provide. The Bill is a modest attempt to deal with this problem and I hope it will be supported.”
“Be loud. Be visible. The single most effective thing you can do is let your local MP know that you feel strongly in favour of voluntary assisted dying laws and that you expect them to act on it.”
“Voluntary Assisted Dying is about love and compassion. Insisting people unnecessarily suffer through death is not.
We help our loved ones navigate all of life’s challenges. Why should death be any different?”
“I want the option that any humane person would grant to a dying pet. My mother slowly suffocated to death over six weeks with cancer in her lungs. Palliative care had nothing to offer her. Who would deny that to anyone they loved?”
“I support the humane idea of people having control over the method and manner of their dying, just as they should have control over their lives. A person who is terminally ill and experiencing intolerable suffering should have the right to choose to die, painlessly and with dignity. A doctor who has the courage and compassion to help them must be protected by the law.”
“I am proud of my reputation of never giving up on patients who still have the will to live despite what others believe to be an exercise in futility. I am equally as proud to support Dying with Dignity because the only situation that would be worse than not having control of your life is to not have control over your own death.”
“My body, my life, my death, my suffering, my choice. To sicken, to suffer, to age and to die is one thing. To lose my right to make my own choices is quite another.”
“When death is inevitable and the passage towards it is haunted by pain and suffering, both of the dying and their loved ones, then the ability to choose the time and place to die freed from anguish and uncertainty, with peace and love, should be a basic human right.”
“I believe that the choice to end life should be a personal one, unrelated to religious or political dogma. Dying with dignity when one’s suffering is unendurable is a fundamental human right.”
“I strongly believe in personal autonomy – the ability of a rational individual to make informed decisions and choices free from coercion. People with full capacity should be free to make decisions about their private lives, including treatment by others and the cessation of inevitable and severe suffering by ending life.
Experience in other jurisdictions has shown that it is perfectly possible for the legislature to put in place regimes that enable mentally capable adults to make fully informed choices about their futures, free of coercion by any associates. Appropriate provisions are made for health professionals involved. The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill would provide for such a regime in NSW. Tell your local member.”
“My hope is that New South Wales sees the light in terms of voluntary assisted dying, by giving people choice and a sense of control over how their lives may end. It’s a deeply humane act.”
“While tragic, it is legal for me to take my life, alone in the back shed, but illegal for me to access a drug which will let me die peacefully surrounded by my loved ones. Yes, some people have a religious problem with this. That is not my religion, and I would respectfully ask them to get out of my life, and death.” People are killing themselves in violent and lonely ways because they see no legal way to end their suffering. The law needs to change to allow terminally ill people the right to choose how they die. Palliative care cannot always help.”
“We need to ensure we can maintain control over our lives to the very end. There is no dignity in having that right taken from us.”
“I am a strong supporter of the Dying with Dignity movement.”
“I’m proud to be part of the NSW Nurses & Midwives Association and their strong support of legislative change to enable those profoundly suffering at end of life to choose to die with dignity in a manner acceptable to them.”
“I don’t recall having any say on my birth – but insist on having a say on my death which (age 81, accursed with painful ailments) rapidly approaches. And politicians I didn’t vote for and religions I reject will not stop me ending life when I choose to do so.”
Emeritus Professor and former Premier of Western Australia, the Hon. Geoff Gallop AC supports voluntary assisted dying laws.
“The continuum of end-of-life care should include assisted dying for those whose suffering has become hopeless and unbearable. Ensuring a dignified death is surely the mark of a civilised society.”