Sunday, August 28, 2022
Who is eligible for voluntary assisted dying? Nine medical conditions assessed against five legal frameworks
Ben White (Queensland University of Technology), Lindy Willmott (Queensland University of Technology), Katrine Del Villar (Queensland University of Technology), Jayne Hewitt (Griffith University), Eliana Close (Queensland University of Technology), Laura Ley Greaves (Queensland University of Technology), James Cameron (Victorian Government - Department of Health and Human Services), Rebecca Meehan (Independent), Jocelyn Downie (Schulich School of Law & Faculty of Medicine), Who is eligible for voluntary assisted dying? Nine medical conditions assessed against five legal frameworks, 45 U. New South Wales L. J. 1 (2022):
Eligibility criteria in voluntary assisted dying legislation determine access to assistance to die. This article undertakes the practical exercise of analysing whether each of the following nine medical conditions can provide an individual with access to voluntary assisted dying: cancer, motor neurone disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia, frailty, spinal cord injury and Huntington’s disease. This analysis occurs across five legal frameworks: Victoria, Western Australia, a model Bill in Australia, Oregon and Canada. The article argues that it is critical to evaluate voluntary assisted dying legislation in relation to key medical conditions to determine the law’s boundaries and operation. A key finding is that some frameworks tended to grant the same access to voluntary assisted dying, despite having different eligibility criteria. The article concludes with broader regulatory insights for designing voluntary assisted dying frameworks both for jurisdictions considering reform and those reviewing existing legislation.