10 June 2021
It’s 17th time lucky as Voluntary Assisted Dying looks certain to be legalised in South Australia after another overwhelming victory in the state’s Lower House.
The VAD Bill passed 33-11 after a marathon six-hour debate which ran until 1.30am this morning.
Amendments to the Bill, the 17th time a VAD Bill has been introduced before State Parliament, includes allowing private hospitals and organisations to conscientiously object to the administering of VAD and refer patients requesting VAD to other health providers.
This 17th Bill, having been approved in three sittings of Parliament in the last two months, will now return to the Upper House for a final seal of approval.
The ANMF (SA Branch), with the overwhelming support of our members, has been an active campaigner for the Bill, co-hosting a Candles for Compassion Vigil on the steps of Parliament House on May 26 and publishing a full-page open letter in The Advertiser in November calling on our state politicians to pass the Bill when it is introduced in Parliament.
View the letter here
Indeed, some state MPs have acknowledged in Parliament how the powerful testimony of nurses who care for dying patients had helped move them to vote yes.
“Thank you to the thousands of South Australians who’ve contacted their MPs and attended rallies across the state in recent months to share very personal stories of heartbreak and pain in a bid to finally get this reform passed,” Voluntary Assisted Dying SA spokesperson Lainie Anderson was quoted in InDaily Adelaide.
“We know this will be a bittersweet moment for families who’ve watched loved ones die in unbearable suffering in the absence of voluntary assisted dying laws, and we hope they see this is a small victory for those who are gone but still in our hearts.”
The Bill contains 70 safeguards and requires a patient aged over 18 to be diagnosed with a terminal illness that will cause death within six months, to be suffering with no prospect of relief and to have their cognitive capacity verified by two independent medical practitioners. A doctor cannot raise the VAD option with a patient.