Also known as Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Tag: Marshall Perron

Sept 22nd 2021 marks 25 years since the first legal assisted death of Bob Dent in NT and 4 years since the tragic dying of Elizabeth Holmes in NSW

On September 22, 2021, we recall the first legal assisted death in Australia, in fact in the world, that of Bob Dent in the Northern Territory on September 22, 1996, 25 years ago.  Bob had suffered from prostate cancer.  We thank Marshall Perron, who, as the Chief Minister of the NT, initiated this legislation.  Sadly, this legislation was overturned by Federal Parliament the following year by the Howard Government by what has been known as the Andrews Bill.  We acknowledge Bob’s wife, Judy, who, as President of the NTVES (NT Voluntary Euthanasia Society), has been lobbying for 25 years to have the Right of the Territory restored to the NT Parliament to enact a VAD Bill.

Tragically, on the same date, September 22, but in 2017, Elizabeth Holmes, who had been in agony for some time from stage 4 breast cancer and other serious health problems, decided the only way to relieve her suffering was to take her own life in Tamworth, New South Wales.  As Elizabeth (Liz) noted just prior to her death, this desperate action could have been avoided if NSW had had a Voluntary Assisted Dying Law.  Such a law would have given Liz a compassionate extra choice in the manner of her dying.

New South Wales is now the only state remaining without a VAD law,  It is time!  COVID-19  has made many of us contemplate our dying and should not be used as a reason for delaying legislation.

This following speech by Sandra Nelson, MLA for Katherine, NT,   talks of the circumstances prior to the death of Elizabeth Holmes.  It is surely yet another reason why a Voluntary Assisted Dying  law is needed  in New South Wales.           The speech has now been shared with all NSW Members of Parliament by Elizabeth Holmes’ daughter.
Posted here, including photos, with permission. 

ADJOURNMENT – EUTHANASIA
23 November 2017
Madam Speaker, I rise tonight to commend Premier of Victoria – Daniel Andrews and his government on the historic passing of voluntary euthanasia laws which were passed in Victoria’s Upper House on Wednesday 22nd November.
Madam Speaker , There are few topics as popular, and yet divisive, as euthanasia. Both sides raise compelling arguments, and those arguments are numerous.

End of life care for the terminally ill or those with ir-remediable illnesses is dictated by law, regardless of what is in the best interests of the patient. The current prohibition on assisted suicide is at odds with our otherwise patient-centred health system, it’s almost contradictory. This is the one area of medical care in which the patient’s views cannot be considered and taken into account in determining a course of action.

Many of those who would seek assisted suicide are not physically capable of taking their own life. Even where a person is capable of taking action themselves, it is my opinion that it is barbaric to leave them with the choice between a potentially long and undignified death or violent options to take their own life.

The Northern Territory likes to think of itself as frontier country – it was certainly at the forefront of the international debate over euthanasia. On 25 May 1995 it became the first jurisdiction in the world to pass laws allowing a doctor to end the life of a terminally ill patient at the patient’s request. In doing so, the law permitted both physician-assisted suicide, and active voluntary euthanasia in some circumstances.

And under the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT) strict conditions applied: it is neither an unqualified ‘licence to kill’ nor an unqualified affirmation of a competent adult patient’s right to assistance in dying.

Madam Speaker, a couple of weeks ago I was visited in my electorate office by Sharon Cramp and her husband Spud.
Sharon and Spud shared with me the story about Sharon’s beautiful mother, Elizabeth Ann Holmes. Liz broke her back when she was 53, she battled breast cancer for 12 years, and had Continue reading

Canada passes Federal assisted dying law

This is a major positive step in Canada, It is now up to Australia to follow this example.

The most comprehensive analysis of this change in Canada that I have read was posted on Facebook by Marshall Perron, who you may recall was Chief Justice in the Northern Territory . and who initiated the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act there some 20 years ago.

Here is Marshall’s posted article in full –

NEWS FROM CANADA
June 17, 2016: Canadian parliament completes passage of federal aid-in-dying legislation.

Yesterday will be remembered as yet another momentous step forward for our movement to establish the right to aid-in-dying as a fundamental human right.

Yesterday, Friday June 17, the Canadian Senate passed bill C-14 put forward by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which had previously been passed by the House of Commons. This made aid-in-dying fully legal all across Canada, and established a country-wide legal framework for its implementation.

There are many parameters of the new Canadian law which are similar to those of our own Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California laws. The Canadian law allows assisted dying for consenting adults “in an advanced stage of irreversible decline” from a serious and “incurable” disease, illness or disability and for whom natural death is “reasonably foreseeable.”

Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott issued a joint statement, saying: “The legislation strikes the right balance between personal autonomy for those seeking access to medically assisted dying and protecting the vulnerable.” The new law has the strong support of the Canadian Medical Association, which said in a statement that it was “pleased that historic federal legislation on medical aid in dying is now in place.” Cindy Forbes, president of the CMA, said the law brings clarity and balance to assisted dying. “I feel very confident the government has done the right thing.”

A brief summary of the history leading up to this momentous event: In June, 2014, the Canadian province of Quebec passed a groundbreaking and far-reaching aid-in-dying bill, and in February, 2015, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled unanimously (nine to nothing !!!!) that aid-in-dying is a fundamental human right for terminally ill people, part of a broader human right to compassionate care at end of life. On December 10, 2015, the Quebec law went into force. And on June 6, the Canadian Supreme Court’s ruling took effect, invalidating all previously existing laws banning aid-in-dying.

To us in the USA, it’s fascinating that the debate in Canada over the bill has not been about whether aid in dying should be legal, but rather about whether the new law goes far enough, and in particular that it does not help people who suffer from intolerable medical conditions even though they may not be “terminal.” The Canadian Supreme Court’s 2015 decision establishes intolerable physical suffering as a condition for aid in dying without requiring that the person be terminal. However, Ellen Wiebe, a Vancouver doctor who has been assisting in deaths, said she sees the new law as flexible. In her view, patients with advanced multiple sclerosis, who would die if they did not accept treatment, could be deemed to face a “reasonably foreseeable” natural death, and therefore be eligible for medical assistance to end their lives.

Ian Wood – his followup letter to Kevin Andrews MP re the John Baylis Diary and Marshall Perron’s letter to Kevin Andrews MP

Hon Kevin Andrews MP                                               Posted 19.11.2015, on C4VE letterhead
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT
2600

Dear Mr Andrews

Marshall Perron, former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, wrote to you recently about the diary of the tragic last weeks of John Baylis, who died from Motor Neurone Disease.

As Mr Perron so clearly and succinctly pointed out, the fact that John Baylis could not access the assisted death he so rationally requested, was due to your action in instigating the overturning of the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act.

What Mr Perron did not say, is that you do still have the opportunity to go some way in atoning for what a substantial majority of Christians believe was your regrettable lack of compassion for the terminally ill, as they die with suffering that even the best palliative care cannot relieve.

Eighteen years have now passed since Oregon State, USA enacted their Death With Dignity Act in 1997. Since then three other states enacted similar legislation – Washington State. Vermont and California. Montana and New Mexico also have the right by a court decision In Europe, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg have had choice since 2002, in addition to Switzerland.

There is now a mass of data available, based on the experience in these countries.
Essentially, we can now state Continue reading

The diary of John Baylis, and Marshall Perron’s letter to Kevin Andrews MP

83 year old Darwin man John Baylis died from the ravages of Motor Neuron Disease on 5th March 2015.  He wrote Imagine if you can, a good mind, with good recall and an active imagination, trapped in a body that can’t walk, can’t talk, both arms and hands affected, lips, and throat not under control. Difficulty eating and drinking. It is an awful place to be, believe me. The reason I have “ come out of the Closet “ is to promote and push for the right to die with dignity.

John Baylis’ Diary

83 year old Darwin man John Baylis died from the ravages of Motor Neuron Disease on 5th March 2015. This is an exact extract of his Facebook diary.
Dec 15, 2014 – Aged Care Assessment Teams ( ACAT ) I have finally been diagnosed by my GP , as having ‘ the monster inside me ‘ being diagnosed as Motor Neurone Disease . We applied for me to be assessed by ACAT , and they required a doctors report . My GP stated that I had MND . Fifteen years ago now , Dr Burrows of RDH made multiple diagnosis of my emerging symptoms . They were MND , small vessel disease , Myclophaphy and possibly Slow Person Syndrome , SPS. I visited a prominent Brisbane MND specialist three times , Continue reading