following Fact Sheet has been prepared by the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia
Society (SAVES). For
further information visit their website at http://www.saves.asn.au
Voluntary Euthanasia Society
Answers to Five Objections
1 - We cannot aways be sure that the patient wants to die.
There are no absolute certainties in medical practice but this does not eliminate
the need, at times, for doctors to make life and death decisions. Faced with
a request for euthanasia, the doctor would follow prescribed guidelines which
would include being satisfied that the strength and persistence of the request
left no reasonable doubt as to the patient's firm and rational intention.
2 - We cannot always be sure that there is no possibility of cure or return
to an acceptable quality of life.
Cures take years to discover, test and become generally available. The doctor
would discuss the prognosis so that the patient could make an informed decision
as to whether a cure or remission was worth waiting for.
3 - Palliative care is now so effective that no-one need ever ask for
There are acknowledged limits to palliative care. There are still cases in
which pain cannot be satisfactorily controlled, but of greater concern is
the loss of faculties and descent into total dependence on others over a lengthy
period as a miserable prelude to death.
4 - Efforts to find cures and to improve palliative care will be discouraged.
The will to live is so strong that no-one wishes to die while their life can
still have reasonable quality. There will always be pressure to find cures
and improve treatment. Euthanasia would only be an option for those whom current
medical skills could not help. The incentive to perfect those skills would
5 - It is always wrong to shorten life deliberately.
Those who have this conviction would be free to abstain, either as doctor
or patient, but should not deny the option to those who do not share their
belief. Most people hold that life should not be taken unlawfully: they accept
that there are circumstances in which the taking of life may be justified
and that the law should provide for these.
information contact SAVES at: http://www.saves.asn.au
contact: Hon Secretary, SAVES, PO Box 2151, Kent Town, SA 5071, Australia
- Fax + 61 8 8265 2287