The Newspoll survey shows that a tiny minority (14 per cent of Australians, 13 per cent of Victorians) are opposed to voluntary euthanasia. We absolutely respect their right to hold that view - for their own end of life. But not to force that view on others. Informed choice is paramount.
Clearly, there is much to agree on. What seems to worry some individuals is what other people might think. But most other people agree on reform. There's no need to be timid if you support reform: you're in the great majority.
DWDV is working with state MPs to ensure a private member's bill is enacted so that the law catches up with the will of the overwhelming majority of Victorians, a will that has been a majority for more than 25 years.
The "slippery slope" argument is one often advanced by those who will never come right out and say, "I believe my God says 'no', so the answer's 'no' " — because they know that argument won't win wide support.
The vast majority of Australians have rejected the Slippery Slopers' view of the world.
It's time to get on with reform. And get on with it we shall.
Neil Francis, The Age
Neil Francis is President of Dying With Dignity Victoria
Read Peter Coghlan's article...
Letters to the Editor in Response
It's time to regulate a deadly practice
I HAVE read with interest the opposing arguments regarding euthanasia from Peter Coghlan (Opinion, 6/3) and Neil Francis (Opinion, 13/3). One says legislating for euthanasia will not work, the other says it will.
Looking at reality, Oregon in the US has had physician-assisted suicide on its statute books for more than eight years with only a few persons (around 40) who qualify and die under its provisions each year.
There is no evidence of serious abuse such as the feared "slippery slope" described by Coghlan and named by Francis. Rather, medical care has demonstrably improved with Oregon shown as one of the leading states in the US for palliative care.
Moreover, there are legislated safeguards that patients and the medical profession can work under, rather than having situations that Coghlan and Francis are debating.
Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are illegal in Australia, but they do occur, as many studies have shown. Legislation will simply regulate a deadly practice that has been lurking in the shadows without safeguards for too long.
Alan Rothschild, North Caulfield