Should euthanasia (or physician-assisted suicide) be legalised?

The law has come a long way in recognising the needs of critically ill patients who have no chance of recovery or improvement, to not have their lives needlessly prolonged. Patients telling their stories will show how far the law has come, where it draws the line between what doctors can and can’t do, and how flimsy that line is. However, despite legal developments, there are people who need euthanasia to be legalised. Even if they don’t want it when the time comes, just having it available is a comfort. The challenge for lawyers is to design legislation that will be workable in practice, so that health professionals will feel confident that they can rely on the legal provisions without fear of prosecution. Drafting suitable legislation has been the principal stumbling block in changing the law to permit doctors to assist terminally ill patients who want to die.

This talk will be presented by Professor Loane Skene. Join us in Asia Centre room 115 on Tuesday May 14, at 12.00pm.

Loane Skene  is a Professor of Law in the Melbourne Law School and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. She specialises in medical law and ethics. She is a member of the NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee, and has served on numerous federal and state advisory committees. In 2003, she was awarded a Centenary Medal by the Commonwealth for “Service to Australian Society through the Exploration of Legal and Ethical Issues of Health Care”; and in 2008, a Doctor of Laws (by Examination) at the University of Melbourne.  In 2008, she was appointed a Fellow of Queen’s College Melbourne; and, in 2011, a Plumer Fellow of St Anne’s College Oxford.

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