NSW becomes sixth state to legalise voluntary assisted dying

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NSW has become the final Australian state to legalise voluntary assisted dying (VAD), in a conscience vote last week following long debates in Parliament.

Adults with decision-making capacity, who have terminal illnesses that will result in their death within six months (or twelve months for neurodegenerative conditions), are suffering, and give voluntary and enduring consent, will be able to choose VAD following a rigorous eligibility screening by two senior doctors who have completed mandatory training on the subject.

Independent MP Alex Greenwich (pictured above, centre), who introduced the bill to Parliament, celebrated its passage and called upon the Territories to be allowed to legalise VAD as well.

“Today New South Wales passes a threshold of honesty and compassion – honesty that not all people die well and compassion that people in New South Wales with an advanced terminal illness should have the same end-of-life choices as people in every other State,” he said.

The move is not without criticism, with religious groups and Christian Not For Profits such as HammondCare opposing it; according to HammondCare General Manager Health and Palliative Care Andrew Montague (pictured), VAD advocacy fails to take into account circumstances that may influence a person’s decision-making or capacity for informed consent.

“We oppose the legalisation of VAD and instead endorse palliative care as the appropriate approach for people who are dying,” he said.

The laws will come into effect at the end of 2023.