End of Life Choice Bill - some key facts
In 2012 Labour List MP Maryan Street introduced a private members bill, the “End of Life Choice Bill” into the ballot. The bill was withdrawn in September 2013 because the Labour Leadership did not want it debated during an election year. However, Street has said she will put a bill back into the ballot following the 2014 general election. Some key features of the bill are outlined here.
The proposed bill:
- provided for both physician-assisted euthanasia (PAE) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS)
- included any persons from 18 years of age suffering from an irreversible physical or mental condition that in their view rendered their life unbearable
- would have made PAE or PAS available to a range of persons not actually dying
- placed responsibility for PAE/PAS on the shoulders of doctors but did not require the administering doctor to have any prior knowledge of the applicant as a patient
- allowed for a lethal prescription for PAS to be provided 12 months or more before the person is likely to die, even though doctors cannot predict when death will occur with any degree of certainty, unless it is imminent. Once a prescription for PAS is granted, all safeguards and monitoring cease. There is no way to monitor its use. It would be impossible to know if a person struggled or was coerced into taking the medication
- asked doctors to record on the death certificate the underlying illness or condition as the cause of death when in fact this would not be the case at all
- offered substantial protection against prosecution for doctors who participated in PAE/PAS but would have left many patients vulnerable to abuse from family or other carers.
Read the bill (pdf)