Australia: World Medical Association reiterates strong opposition to physician-assisted suicide


While the Australian state of Victoria is debating on the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, the World Medical Association (WMA) is urging the MP’s in the Upper House to reject it. Consistent with their long-standing position statement, the WMA declares that: “Physician assisted suicide, as well as euthanasia, is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession. The assistance of a physician, intentionally and deliberately directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life, is unethical.” It strongly encourages “all national medical associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it or decriminalizes it under certain conditions”. Although at the national level, Australia has repeatedly rejected attempts at legalization, the bill currently debated in Victoria is particularly wide. It consists in providing lethal doses that the patient could self-administer, without requiring any surveillance whatsoever: no witnesses, not even a physician’s presence is required. These provisions could apply to individuals with an estimated 12-month life expectancy. If a patient is unable to administer the lethal dose by himself, a physician’s assistance could be sought…]]>

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