The latest “research” paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia advocating for the removal of protections in the Victorian euthanasia and assisted suicide regime would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.
Recruiting family caregivers of those who had died by euthanasia or assisted suicide through (pre-Musk) Twitter and euthanasia advocacy groups Go Gentle Australia and Dying with Dignity Victoria, the researchers were always going to get a high sample of people who were pro-euthanasia enough to be on the mailing list of activist groups.
Unsurprisingly, they thought the process could be improved by dispensing with some of those pesky safeguards.
For example, the research paper reported that participants thought the ban on doctors raising the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide with their patients was “problematic.”
The paper reads:
“Concerns were repeatedly expressed about the prohibition particularly reducing access for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with lower levels of education or poorer technology and information literacy: “If you’re not exposed to it, you don’t know to ask.””
It’s hard to imagine that many people recruited for this study using Twitter and activist mailing lists were from linguistically diverse backgrounds or have poor technology or information literacy, so instead we are seeing the “concern” of elites for those less fortunate.
How nice of them to make sure that those already in a vulnerable position are able to have their doctor suggest they should die.
They also lamented the unwillingness of some doctors to be involved or the reality of institutional objection (“freedom of choice” is so bothersome when someone else is allowed to exercise it), as well as the timeframe being too long (the most recent report from Victoria tells us that the median time frame from first to final request is just 16 days.)
Undoubtedly, this research paper and others like it will be used to lobby for a broadening of the euthanasia regime during the upcoming statutory review.
Hopefully the MPs will have the ability to look past the propaganda and protect the vulnerable.