With all the advances in medical and life support technology the problem of staying alive has fallen by the wayside. We have a new problem: how to die properly. What used to take merely hours or days can now stretch for many months, and with that comes a loss of quality of life, both for the patient and for the family. I once read an account of how a patient was being kept heavily sedated and, whenever he awoke, he would weep because he was still alive. I cannot imagine that the best and most humane way for a person to die is doped up to the point of incoherence.
We last had a Euthanasia Bill, the Rights of The Terminally Ill Act, back in 1995-1997 in the Northern Territory, before it was defeated by a bunch of senators who moralised and preached instead of listening to the 77% of Australians who supported the Bill at the time.
In 2008 there was a girl, Angelique Flowers, terminally ill with Crohn's Disease and colon cancer. She appealed to the Rudd Government via YouTube to support a voluntary euthanasia bill, but nothing eventuated. She died the way she never wanted to, from a total blockage that forced her to vomit up the contents of her bowels. In her YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdxd_EFDd4s) she said,
“The law wouldn't let a dog suffer the agony I'm going through before an inevitable death. It would be put down. Yet under the law, my life is worth less than a dog's. [...] If euthanasia was legal, I could have ended my days as I chose, finding peace before leaving this world, not panic and more pain. [...] I have been robbed of both my living and my dying.”
We need voluntary euthanasia. Dr. Nitschke's Exit International is starting a pro-euthanasia advertising campaign within the next few days. Please, please give them your support.