The South Australian legislature is debating a bill that would legalize euthanasia. Last year a similar bill was pulled , before a vote, last November, to enable the euthanasia lobby to regroup and introduce another bill this year, as it has done.
Philip Nitschke is now openly promoting the idea of opening a euthanasia clinic in South Australia, if euthanasia is legalized. Last year, when the South Australian euthanasia bill was defeated, Nitschke encouraged people to come to him for death.
The article in Adelaide Now stated:
It is expected the facility 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".
Dr Nitschke said the clinic would not be like those operating overseas where a person could just fly in and seek assistance to die.
He said if a person was in a position where they were dying and wanted help to end their life, they could get their doctor to refer them to the new clinic for advice and preparation.
Dr Nitschke said not every doctor was going to be involved in helping a patient end their life.
One of the "euthanasia/suicide techniques" that Nitschke promotes is death by Nembutal, a drug used by veterinarians for the euthanasia of large animals.
In February 2010, a study that was released by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine indicated that there had been 51 known Nembutal deaths in Austalia in the previous 10 years.
An article printed in the Sydney Morning Herald on February 15, 2010 stated that:
In 27 cases there was no reference to these factors, prompting some to speculate these people had committed suicide because of psychological or psychiatric reasons. ...
In 10 cases, euthanasia material was found at the scene of the death, or it was discovered that the deceased had made contact with euthanasia organisations. Coroners found that eight people had obtained the drug from overseas. ...
Australians have been able to pay Exit International for guidelines on how to obtain Nembutal since 2000. People can also download Exit's instructions from The Peaceful Pill Handbook, which has been published online in the US since the drug was banned in Australia in 2007.
When interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald Philip Nitschke responded to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine report in this way:
Dr Nitschke said he was not surprised by the figures, as "dozens" of Australians had either bought the drug from veterinary clinics overseas or ordered it online. He said Exit had seen increasing numbers of people simply "tired of life".
While young people and those with mental illnesses could access Exit's instructions, he said, that risk had to be weighed against the benefits for many others. "There will be some casualties - but this has to be balanced with the growing pool of older people who feel immense wellbeing from having access to this information," he said.
Australians should be concerned about Nitschke's cavalier attitude toward euthanasia. Stating that "there will be some casualties" is no way to respond to the death of a depressed or mentally ill person or to the families who have needlessly lost a loved one to a senseless and avoidable death.
Further, I am convinced that Nitschke's wish to open a euthanasia clinic is based on the financial success of the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.
The financial success and the lack of oversight related to the Dignitas clinic has also led to the Dutch euthanasia lobby wanting to open a euthanasia clinic.
South Australian legislators should consider Nitschke's promotion of euthanasia for those who are "tired of living" as too dangerous and kill the bill. The only casualty should be the death of the euthanasia bill in South Australia.
EPC supports the leadership of HOPE, the anti-euthanasia group in Australia, who are organized to defeat the euthanasia bill.