Image showing the drug Nembutal, on Flickr
Euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke is seeking a location for a proposed specialist euthanasia clinic in Adelaide, ahead of expected law changes that will effectively decriminalise assisted suicide in South Australia, reports AdelaideNow. However, right-wing Labor MPs have spoken out against the new legislation, said a report in The Australian.
The SA State Parliament is debating changes that would give doctors a legal defence if they accelerate the death of a terminally ill patient whose pain cannot be alleviated with drugs.
Sponsors of the reform say it is receiving more early support than other recent proposals, which have ultimately been voted down.
Dr Nitschke said passage of the softer bill, proposed by MP Steph Key, would help pave the way for other states to get euthanasia legislation through their Parliaments, should they wish.
It is expected the facility, to be run by euthanasia advocates Exit International, will be operational within a month, although a full service clinic would only be possible if the bill passes through both both Houses of Parliament.
Health Minister John Hill said the proposed legislation was designed to protect the ongoing doctor-patient relationship "not to allow a stand-alone clinic".
The Australian reports that serious concers of senior right-wing Labor MPs, including Treasurer Jack Snelling and factional head Don Farrell, have thrown the proposal into doubt after a "historic" passing of the bill on Thursday in the lower house from the second reading stage into committee.
Labor MP Steph Key's reworked proposal, backed by Health Minister John Hill and opposition health spokesman Duncan McFetridge, gives doctors a medical defence if they assist a patient to hasten death.
Ms Key said yesterday the passing of the bill into committee was a "historic event".
"We've never been able to get anything that is even associated with voluntary euthanasia up in our house on the second reading -- it may or may not get up as a result of that," she said.
Conservative government MPs warned that the move could "open the gates" to allowing voluntary euthanasia. Although the matter will be decided by a conscience vote of state MPs, most likely in October, Senator Farrell yesterday urged South Australian MPs "not to assist or participate in the killing of their citizens".
Premier Mike Rann disputes that the bill was linked to euthanasia, saying it was about palliative care, said The Australian report.
Euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke eyes death clinic for Adelaide (AdelaideNow/The Advertiser)
Right MPs warn against euthanasia push (The Australian)
Mads Boedker on Flickr
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