Australia: A Fifth State Legalizes Euthanasia

October 08, 2021
Queensland Parliament

The Parliament of Queensland, Australia, has just passed a bill on euthanasia. As of 2023, eligible people will be able to choose to access “voluntary assistance in dying” as a simple end-of-life option.

The Virgin of Sorrows did not have to dry her tears in this September 15, 2021: it is indeed on this day that the Queensland Parliament - State of the North-East of Australia - voted in favor of the a law legalizing euthanasia, to a concert of applause.

The text, carried by Labor Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk, is modestly called the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, a voluntary aid in dying project.

It makes the provision for euthanasia to be available to any adult suffering from a serious or degenerative disease whose death is expected within twelve months.

Here, as in other countries where euthanasia has become legal, a slide from the end of life criterion to that of incurable disease is perceptible.

Another criterion to be eligible for euthanasia in Queensland: the disease must cause suffering “which the patient considers to be intolerable.”

It is a subjective perspective, where access to euthanasia is subordinated to a perception that depends on the patient, or, if he is impeded, on his close circle.

The safeguards are minimal in the text voted on last September 15, since the euthanasia procedure requires only the opinion of two doctors and a repeat of the request on the part of the patient, on three occasions.

Health professionals opposed to euthanasia are for the moment protected, because Queensland foresees a clause guaranteeing conscientious objection for the practitioner, even of the establishment, not wishing to cooperate in what the natural law sees as a seriously immoral and illicit practice.

With the vote of September 15, 2021, Queensland joins the list of four Australian states which have, in recent years, decided to cross the red line by decriminalizing euthanasia: Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia.