Issues Magazine

Articles about euthanasia

Mercy in the Context of Euthanasia

By Chelsea Pietsch

Mercy is a concept that is difficult to define, especially in the face of life-ending decisions. Inextricably linked are ideas about relief, respect and relationships.

Jones is suffering from a terminal illness. His pain is severe, he is estranged from his family and he wants to die. He calls out, “Have mercy on me!”

No doubt you are moved by his story. You want to help him. Indeed, you want to have mercy on him. But what is mercy? What does it mean to have mercy on someone who is suffering?

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

By Michael Cook

Empowering doctors to kill can have incalculable consequences. It is definitely worth debating.

Australia was the first country in the world where doctors could legally euthanase patients. In 1995 the Northern Territory passed the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act by a vote of 15 to 10. Four people died under this legislation over the next 9 months, all of them with the help of a then-unknown doctor named Philip Nitschke. There was an uproar and, after a long national debate, Federal Parliament quashed the Territory’s legislation.

Safeguards in Assisted Dying Legislation

By Christopher Ryan

Clinical Senior Lecturer, Psychiatry, Westmead Clinical School, The University of Sydney; Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, The University of Sydney

Physician-assisted dying legislation seems inevitable. We all need to try to make it as safe as possible.

The Australian Senate is currently reviewing a piece of proposed legislation that would, if passed, make it possible for a doctor to administer drugs to end the life of a terminally ill patient at a time of their choosing.* Numerous surveys have demonstrated that around 85% of Australians are in favour of legalising physician-assisted dying, and for this reason similar legislation has gone before the parliaments of most Australian states.