Should euthanasia be legalised?

Two years ago, Jay Franklin was accepted at a Swiss euthanasia clinic for an assisted death. While Mr Franklin doesn’t have a terminal illness, he does suffer from a rare and painful congenital bowel condition called Hirschsprung’s disease.

Throughout his life he has undergone more than 100 operations, which has left him without a large bowel and less than a quarter of the intestines with which he was born. Hardly a day has passed when he has not been in almost unbearable pain. His quality of life is so low that the Swiss euthanasia clinic has declared he qualifies for an assisted death.

So Mr Franklin, along with thousands of sympathetic supporters, raised the necessary funds to get him overseas to see his life journey to its end. But earlier this week, Jay has decided not to go to Switzerland to die. He now wishes to be able to do it at home here in Australia.

He has returned all the money that was raised for his trip and has made a video pleading for access to the euthanasia drug Nembutal. The drug has been promoted by pro-euthanasia groups as the ‘peaceful pill’ and, although not available in Australia, has been sourced and used by many to take their own lives.

The launch of the video also coincided with a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into end-of-life choices.

In a statement written by Mr Franklin, he said if the Victorian Government agreed to legalise voluntary euthanasia, sourcing this type of drug illegally would not be necessary. But although he is worried that his family could be charged with assisted suicide, this, according to Jay, is the only way that he can be with his mother Bertha and his loved ones when he dies.

An offence of this kind in Victoria could see offenders face a maximum jail term of five years.

Bertha Franklin, Jay’s mother, says that although heartbreaking, she understands and supports her son’s wish to die.

“I feel honoured that he’s had the courage to confide in me and has not tried to hide this,” she said. “Of course it will be a dreadful thing but it’s too hard for him now, it’s just too hard.”

Read more about Jay’s story at The Age.

Opinion: One man’s fight to die, at home

The decision to end his own life has clearly been a struggle for Mr Franklin. His life is full of pain and suffering, but he has always has been surrounded by friends and family who love him.

Mr Franklin’s condition is so serious that he has been accepted for an assisted death in Switzerland, an end that isn’t granted lightly by authorities. The decision to take his own life isn’t an easy one, and it’s made even more complicated when he has to fly to Switzerland and leave behind everyone that he loves.

By travelling to Switzerland, Mr Franklin would get to die on his own terms, but he wouldn’t get to end his life surrounded by those he cares about in the country has lived his life. I don’t know about you, but if I had a choice, I’d choose to have my friends and family with me at the end.

Putting myself in the shoes of Mr Franklin’s friends and family, I know that if he was my brother, father or best friend, I would do everything in my power to fulfil his final request, to die at home in Australia surrounded by loved ones.

What would you do? Do you feel that Jay has the right to die? What would you do if one of your family members felt this way? Is it time for each state or territory to review euthanasia laws?

LOADING MORE ARTICLE...