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Euthanasia Bill Finally Passes In South Australia After 17th Attempt And 26 Years

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Euthanasia Bill Finally Passes In South Australia After 17th Attempt And 26 Years

An assisted dying bill has passed through South Australia's Lower House after decades of efforts.

It took 17 attempts and 26 years but a majority of legislators have finally agreed on a piece of legislation that deals with euthanasia.

Politicians argued, debated and discussed the 117 clauses of the bill for six hours and it went into the early hours of this morning (Thursday June 10).

One of the amendments that sparked conversation was whether to allow private hospitals the opportunity to conscientiously object to euthanasia and simply refer patients to facilities that allow it.

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Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas saying there needs to be balance in the law was pleased when that was agreed upon.

"It is a subject, quite frankly...I personally have struggled with," he said, according to the ABC.

The South Australian bill is modelled off Victoria's and reportedly is one of the most conservative in the world.

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There are 70 safeguards in the legislation and a patient has to get sign off from two separate doctors within a prescribed time frame before getting the green light to die.

Willing patients have to be over the age of 18, be an Australian citizen and have lived in South Australia for at least a year. That final point will stop people from other states or territories from jumping across the border to take advantage of the different laws.

People will also have to have a terminal condition that is causing 'intolerable suffering' and their life expectancy is in the days, weeks or months window.

MPs eventually voted 33 to 31 in favour of giving terminally ill patients the right to request a lethal drug to end their lives.

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Now that the Lower House has agreed on the wording of the legislation, it will need to go back to the Upper House for final approval and then it can get ratified into law.

That would allow patients who know their end is nigh the chance to end their lives with some dignity and control.

If South Australia legalises assisted dying then it will become the fourth state or territory to do so in Australia, joining the likes of Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Labor MP Susan Close, who was the politician who introduced the bill, was ecstatic following the lengthy debate and positive result.

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"It will be, in my view, the right thing, but importantly in the view of countless South Australians, something that they will be grateful we took on, we did seriously, and I hope turned into law," she said.

Featured Image Credit: Alberto Biscalchin (Flickr)

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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