The following Fact Sheet has been prepared by the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES). For further information visit their website at

South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society

The Fear of Abuse


OBJECTION 6 - Any law permitting voluntary euthanasia would be liable to abuse because


1. Relatives or others could collude with the doctor to murder the patient for financial gain or to be rid of a nuisance, or

2. Patients could be, or could feel, pressured to ask for euthanasia when they really wish to go on living.

Answer 1: The possibility of collusion to murder a frail, elderly and perhaps fatally ill patient (or even to falsify the diagnosis) already exists. It would not be increased when voluntary euthanasia is legalised because of the requirement for a second independent medical opinion and a detailed report.

Answer 2: Voluntary euthanasia would not be euthanasia on demand, but based on very careful medical assessment. Doctors would have to be satisfied that the patient's condition was, for the patient, intolerable. They would also be required to assess whether a patient's request was free as well as enduring. The open discussion among those concerned (significant others and health care workers) that would be part of this process would provide sound protection.

Further Points:

Further information contact SAVES at:

Or contact: Hon Secretary, SAVES, PO Box 2151, Kent Town, SA 5071, Australia - Fax + 61 8 8265 2287