Victoria Parliament in Australia Reject Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide
by Steven Ertelt
September 11, 2008
Melbourne, Australia (LifeNews.com) — The parliament of the Australian state of Victoria has rejected a measure that would have legalized assisted suicide there. The vote comes at the same time as the body is considering a bill to officially legalize abortions, even though they have been allowed across the island nation for years.
Greens MP Colleen Hartland introduced the assisted suicide bill, but members of the Upper House of the state parliament voted it down 25 to 13.
MPs were given a conscience vote by party leaders, meaning they could vote based on their own views and didn’t have to follow the party position on the legislation.
The measure, known as the Physician Assisted Dying Bill, would have allowed terminally ill patients to take their lives with the help of a doctor. It was patterned after the legal assisted suicide laws of the Netherlands, Belgium and the state of Oregon in the U.S.
The measure has now been sent to an Upper House committee for further debate and discussion.
Hartland told ABC News in Australia that she thinks the vote was a missed opportunity.
"Look, I’m very disappointed, but the people I’m actually more disappointed for are the ones who have rung my office and have urged me on in this and the people in absolutely shocking circumstances, they’re the ones I really feel for," she said.
Bills like hers are routinely opposed by pro-life groups who say patients should be given appropriate mental health and medical care, not death.
Disability rights groups and doctors organizations also typically opposed legislation promoting assisted suicide or euthanasia.
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