Senator backs youth euthanasia

A proposal that would allow a child aged 12 or over to seek voluntary euthanasia in extreme circumstances of untreatable suffering and terminal illness is being supported by NSW Senator for the Liberal Democrats Duncan Spender.

The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties put forward the proposal as part of the state’s inquiry into aged care, end-of-life, palliative care and voluntary assisted dying. Its proposal calls for “mature minors” to be able to access voluntary euthanasia in special circumstances, with stringent conditions.

“While it is shocking that a child as young as 12 could ever seek access to voluntary euthanasia services, the reality is that in some extreme cases, this is the only way to end their immense suffering,” Senator Spender said.

“Access to voluntary euthanasia for mature minors would be dependent on robust medical advice, parental support and the request from the child. The child would have to clearly show full understanding of what choice they are making. Conditions would include extreme suffering that cannot be managed through palliative care, and confirmed diagnosis of near-term terminal illness.

Past Senator David Leyonhjelm failed to restore voluntary euthanasia powers to the territories through his Restoring Territory Rights Bill however Senator Spender said, if elected, he will take up the same fight in the next parliament.

“There is no more fundamental expression of individual freedom than the right to decide what to do with our own body. This right should extend to mature minors suffering terminal illnesses,” he said.

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