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Euthanasia: Is It Just?
In the last decade or so several countries have taken action aimed at guaranteeing the right of adult patients of sound mind to direct that extraordinary measures to prolong life be stopped. South Australia passed the Natural Death Act in 1983, Victoria the Medical Treatment Act in 1988, the Northern Territory the Natural Death Act in 1988 and the Australian Capital Territory the Medical Treatment Act in 1994. NSW issued "interim guidelines" in 1993.
To the extent that these legislative provisions dealt with the right of a patient to refuse current medical treatment, it is doubtful whether they made a significant difference to medical practice. Even without the legislation, the right of patients to withhold consent to treatment was generally accepted. This paper is not about withdrawal or rejection of unwanted medical treatment. It is about euthanasia - ie, active killing.
The perceived need to legalise euthanasia
Suicide is legal in all Australian states and territories. If you want to kill yourself, you can do so. …
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