A lively debate on the ABC’s Q&A last night has once again pushed the subject of voluntary-assisted dying into the spotlight. Well-known journalist and broadcaster Andrew Denton led the debate after spending most of the past year researching the issue of euthanasia.
Audience member Caroline Cox told the panel that she has a rare neurological disease and, once it gets to the point where the pain becomes too much, she wants an assisted death to end her suffering.
“I think I should be able to choose that end. There is no legal framework,” she said. “I think we should have legislation that gives us the opportunity to choose our own end when things become unbearable.”
Quadriplegic audience member Joan Hume explained to the panel that she has often been told she is a burden on the health system and would be better off dead.
“How then, if medically-assisted suicide is legalised, can doctors be trusted to value our lives equally to those of non-disabled people?” she asked.
Panellist and terminal cancer patient Ana Lamaro said that it is a “very deep and profoundly complex decision”. Ms Lamaro said that she is in the fourth stage of her cancer for which there is no fifth. Ms Lamaro also said that she is more worried that there is no legislation to ensure her advanced-care plan will be abided by and, although her first choice is not to foreshorten her life, she also doesn’t wish to extend it by any dramatic measures.