ACT Human Rights Commission pushes for child euthanasia

Despite the fact that the ACT is already proposing the country’s most radical euthanasia regime, the ACT Human Rights Commission thinks it doesn’t go far enough. It is pushing for teenagers and people with dementia to be given access to the regime. 

In their submission to the ACT Select Committee on Voluntary Assisted Dying “Inquiry into the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2023”, Human Rights Commissioner, Penelope Mathew, Children and Young People Commissioner Jodie Griffiths-Cook and Discrimination, Disability, Health and Community Services Commissioner Karen Toohey argue that teenagers should have the same rights to access the euthanasia regime in the ACT as adults, arguing that it is discriminatory for them to be denied access. In addition, they have also recommended that people who later lose their capacity to consent should be able to access euthanasia through advance care directives.

They have recommended that oversight of the process should occur ‘at the conclusion of the process’ rather than checks along the way, in order to make the process more streamlined.

They argue:

Given the numerous steps, and consistent with our previous submission, we propose that the statutory review of the scheme be required to consider a model of oversight which occurs at the conclusion of the process rather than for the board to be notified at each step along the way.

They also suggest simplifying the notification requirements because as currently drafted, they may serve as a disincentive for health professionals to be involved in the regime. In a similar vein, they argue that the onerous witness requirements may operate as ‘unnecessary barriers’ limiting access to the regime.

The proposed laws for the ACT are already the most radical in the country, with no requirement for a predicted time of death, and allowing social workers and counsellors to raise the issue of euthanasia with patients. If these latest recommendations from the Human Rights Commission are adopted, the ACT’s regime will rival that of the most radical euthanasia regimes around the world. 

Euthanasia advocates are now demonstrating what we have always known - there is no safe way to legalise euthanasia as advocates continue to push the boundaries. 

The people of the ACT deserve better than suicide on demand masquerading as end of life care. The way things are going however, they are likely to end up with the world’s most radical euthanasia regime instead.