Suicides, Assisted Suicides and 'Mercy Killings': Would Voluntary Assisted Dying Prevent these 'Bad Deaths'?
46(2) Monash University Law Review, Forthcoming
44 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2020
Date Written: 2020
Voluntary assisted dying (VAD) has recently been legalized in Victoria, and legalization is being considered in other Australian States. One argument advanced in favor of legalization of VAD is that terminally and chronically ill people are committing suicide, or asking friends or relatives to assist them to die, because they feel that they have no alternative. This article evaluates whether the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) will prevent these ‘bad deaths’ from occurring. The article evaluates two important sources of evidence: coronial evidence from Victoria and Western Australia concerning suicides in the chronically and terminally ill; and Australian cases on assisted suicide and “mercy killings”. It concludes that many of these cases would not have met the eligibility criteria for VAD under the Victorian model, and thus ‘bad deaths’ will continue to occur.
Keywords: Suicide, Assisted Suicide, Mercy Killings, Voluntary Assisted Dying, Coronial Data, Criminal Prosecutions, Parliamentary Debates, Law Reform, Health Law
JEL Classification: K10, K14, K32,K42, I10, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation