Assisted dying laws pose a grave risk to the vulnerable

by Joel Hodge, The Age, 7 September 2017

Joel Hodge is a senior lecturer in the School of Theology at Australian Catholic University.

In a study of states with euthanasia law, published in Current Oncology, Dr J. Pereira writes that “laws and safeguards are regularly ignored and transgressed in all the jurisdictions and that transgressions are not prosecuted. For example, about 900 people annually are administered lethal substances without having given explicit consent, and in one jurisdiction, almost 50 per cent of cases of euthanasia are not reported.”

It is easy to underestimate the vulnerability of the elderly and dying, and the delicate human dynamics involved in caring for them. Whenever we are seriously ill, we are placed in a precarious position, heavily dependent on others and confronting all manner of fears.

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