Australia Euthanasia Backers Don’t Want Assisted Suicide Book Banned

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 15, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Euthanasia Backers Don’t Want Assisted Suicide Book Banned Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 15
, 2007

Canberra, Australia ( — Euthanasia advocates in Australia are upset that Attorney General Philip Ruddock is attempting to ban a book that gives instructions on how to kill yourself. Philip Nitschke, considered the nation’s "Dr. Death" and who has been banned from promoting assisted suicide on the Internet, is the author of the book.

Ruddock is appealing a decision by the Office of Film and Literature Classification allowing sales of the book in the island nation.

The book, is currently sold in the United States and Canada and Nitschke denies that there would be an increase in suicides as a result of possible sales in Australia.

"I simply don’t agree with that idea that putting this information out is going to lead to a spate of suicides," he said.

"Over months [the OFLC] considered this book and they finally made the decision that yes, under strict restrictions, it should be distributed to Australians," he added.

Joan Rae, a member of a local pro-euthanasia group in Queensland, told the Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper she doesn’t understand why the book, which she bought on the Internet, can’t be sold there.

"I have got the book so if I can just send overseas to get it then I can’t understand why we couldn’t get it over here," she said.

She said she knows of other members of the group who have purchased the group and said when she traveled to Sydney to see Nitschke speak she saw many Australians with copies of it.

Pro-life advocate Tom Kylie told the newspaper the book should be sold because he thinks it will help encourage public debate.

"I think the issue needs to be debated seriously," he said. "I disagree with [Nitschke’s] ideas and he’s for euthanasia and I’m against it, but I think it’s an issue which needs to be discussed so we know where each other stands really."

"I’m not for this idea of book burning and all the rest," he added.