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Annotated Bibliography: Australia Add in library

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Question:

How should Australia regulate voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide?
 
 

Answer:

White, B. and Willmott, L. (2012). How should Australia regulate voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide?. Journal of Law and Medicine, 20(2).

The most significant objective of this paper on voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide is to give a fundamental base on which the initial discussion on this issue can be raised. The authors through this article attempts to give a wide perspective on this issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide and also raise some very evident questions relating to the law that needs to be modified in order to incorporate these issues of euthanasia (White and Willmott, 2012). The article does not aim to persuade the people or the government to make proper laws for or against this element. Instead the article tends to address all the issues relating to euthanasia more or less in a neutral manner and also tends to raise factors which are relevant to both sides of the argument.

The article explores the legal policies of the country considering the decisions that can be made to end the lives. It elaborately describes the different laws with regard to the decision to withdraw or stop any life sustaining treatment which can result in the death of a person and how these decisions are considered under the Australian legal system. The article states how the Australian legal system considers it to be lawful to stop the life sustaining treatment of any person or to stop giving treatment to the people when such treatment is of no use to the person.

 

The laws as the article states further provides that the proper painkilling if taken shall not give rise to any criminal responsibility. Contrastingly, it should be noted that both voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide is considered unlawful in the country and dealing with such cases would lead to a prosecution in the court of law. The legal implications can lead to the convictions under the laws for murder, suicide, abetment for suicide etc (White and Willmott, 2012). However, it should also be noted that even though there are many laws relating to these there are many such cases of voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide that is occurring in the country. The article states that there are a number of evidences which prove that even though there are laws restricting euthanasia many cases of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia has been occurring in the country.

The article further goes on to describe the role of the political parties in their efforts to modify the existing law in this regard. In the Northern territory assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia had been made lawful for a certain period of time. Otherwise, throughout the country there have not been many changes with regard to the laws in euthanasia and assisted suicide. The article proceeds to discuss the various laws that are prevalent throughout the different jurisdictions in the country. It states that there are quite a few jurisdictions where the laws relating to euthanasia is lenient and it is allowed in some countries.

 

There are a number of countries as well where euthanasia is permitted. For instance, in the country of (Dupuis, 2003), euthanasia is permitted but there also exist laws and statutes that regulate the rules and regulations on voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. Even in the European countries of Belgium and Luxembourg and in the states of United States of America there exist proper statues and laws with regard to euthanasia (White and Willmott, 2012). The legislative structures in these countries give detailed study on the incorporation of the review and processes that entitle the collection of the different data on how the law is to be implemented. Due to the following of this process there exists a considerable amount of evidence that shows the methods on which the operations with regard to the law can be assessed. In the country of Switzerland, the assisted suicide is permitted when such a thing is done without any motive (Bury, 2003). This effort of the country has been considered to be euthanasia tourism in the country. This particular thing has also been mentioned in the article.

The article further analyses all the possible arguments both for and against of euthanasia and assisted suicide. The arguments for euthanasia state that the there needs to be proper reforms in law and these include public opinion that roots for reforms in this area, autonomy to a certain extent. It also needs to be stated that the present laws prevailing in this area is extremely discriminatory and illogical (White and Willmott, 2012). Some of the primary arguments against making voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide are that with regard to the sanctity of life it would be unethical to voluntarily make a person die (Cordner and Ettershank, 1996). These arguments primarily are concerned with how effective the standards and whether euthanasia would be ethical to be used on minors or adults when such an act is not voluntary.

 

The article further attempts to proceed with the other issues in the arguments of euthanasia which are generally not been considered by the scholars during their research in this issue. The ethical issues relating to this concept has also been considered by the authors in this article. The ethical issues are connected to both for and against the arguments of euthanasia and tried to consider the broad aspect in this issue (Parker, 1994).

The article than proceed to make a structure on how the legal system in Australia should move forward to regulate the issues of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. The authors critically analyses on the issue as to whether these would be considered as criminal acts. In case assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia is considered to be a criminal responsibility (Ragg, 1992), it needs to be enquired whether modifications in the law is required in order to make the laws even more strict or the laws should be kept unchanged.

In case research states that modification in the law is required then it needs to be mentioned as to how the criminal law should be formulated in order to punish people connected with voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide (Doyal and Doyal, 2001) (Varelius, 2013). Some of the options that may be available for criminal punishments are reforms, creation of the offences that are context-specific, developing guidelines on the methods in which the criminal justice system should be dealing with the issues of euthanasia.

The article after giving an unbiased view on the legal system on euthanasia later moves on to discuss how this concept when not criminalized would bring forward questions as to how these acts can be regulated and allowed.

 

The article further suggests some reforms which can be applied in the legal system in this regard. These reforms include making such decisions which are voluntary as well as capable and the ability of the person to make use of the legal regime set by the government. The legal structure should set out procedures as to how the decisions need to be made with regard to the person who is suffering from any terminal illness or pain or sufferings (White and Willmott, 2012). The authors in this article state that if voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide is decriminalized the validity of the laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide would be questioned and hence an appropriate statutory practice needs to be recognized in order to put regulations on this practice.

The article primarily deals with the regulation of voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide that arises with the social and medical context (Randall and Downie, 2010). The present generation as stated in the article would not agree to be subject to the paternal medical practices present and would rather insist that they have more control over the process in which they die. The article highlights the debate which exists in contemporary time regarding the advancements made in medicine in this field. As a result of these advancements life sustaining medical treatment would be able to make patients live longer than usual (White and Willmott, 2012). Hence under such circumstances considering this process of euthanasia also becomes significant.

As concluding remarks it can be stated that the article is extremely well written and it covers all the essential aspects with regard to voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. It critically examines the contemporary laws in the country of Australia relating to this issue (Ulsenheimer, 2000). The article further compares the laws of the country with that of the other countries such as Netherlands, Belgium and some of the states of United States of America. The article further helps readers to look at both the aspects of the arguments for and against euthanasia and assisted suicide and also analyses the issue based on the ethical grounds. Hence the article very elaborately discusses this issue on voluntary euthanasia along with the existing ethical debates. This study would be appropriate for readers intending to gain knowledge on the existing laws on euthanasia in the country and also receive a view on the different aspects of euthanasia.

 

References

Bury, B. (2003). Assisted suicide and euthanasia in Switzerland: Doctors should keep out of it. BMJ, 327(7405), pp.52-52.

Cordner, S. and Ettershank, K. (1996). Australia says “no” to euthanasia. The Lancet, 348(9043), p.1730.

Doyal, L. and Doyal, L. (2001). Why active euthanasia and physician assisted suicide should be legalised. BMJ, 323(7321), pp.1079-1080.

Dupuis, H. (2003). Euthanasia in the Netherlands: 25 years of experience. Legal Medicine, 5, pp.S60-S64.

Parker, M. (1994). Active voluntary euthanasia and physician assisted suicide: A morally irrelevant distinction. Monash Bioethics Review, 13(4), pp.34-41.

Ragg, M. (1992). Australia: For or against euthanasia?. The Lancet, 339(8796), pp.800-801.

Randall, F. and Downie, R. (2010). Assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia: role contradictions for physicians. Clinical Medicine, 10(4), pp.323-325.

Ulsenheimer, K. (2000). Legal Aspects of Active and Passive Euthanasia. Der Gynäkologe, 33(10), pp.734-739.

Varelius, J. (2013). Voluntary Euthanasia, Physician-Assisted Suicide, and the Right to do Wrong. HEC Forum, 25(3), pp.229-243.

White, B. and Willmott, L. (2012). How should Australia regulate voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide?. Journal of Law and Medicine, 20(2).

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