Nurse’s personal push for euthanasia law change
A VOLUNTARY assisted dying advocate Fiona Jacobs is urging nurses across Queensland, including the Fraser Coast, to contact their local MPs as part of a campaign to reform end-of-life laws.
Ms Jacobs, who is a registered nurse from Noosa, began lobbying for voluntary assisted dying legislation about two years ago after watching her own mother die a painful death and feeling powerless to help.
Buoyed by the passing, with 24 votes to 11 last week, of the voluntary assisted dying bill in Western Australia’s Upper House and its inevitable passing into law, Ms Jacobs believes now is the time to act.
“VAD is one of the most pressing and resolvable social issues we face and Queensland is the only state not to have considered this important issue (in parliament),” Ms Jacobs said.
“Victoria was the first Australian state to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill, with laws coming into affect mid 2019.”
Ms Jacobs said evidence to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry that led to the new laws, showed that at least once a week a terminally ill person took steps to end their own life because of the lack of any legislated and regulated alternative.
“For some people at the end of life, good palliative care will be enough,” she said.
“However for some, no palliative intervention can ease their suffering, and these people should have a choice.
“Each of us deserves the right to safe access to a lawful and dignified death,” she said.
“This is not just important for older people. There are thousands of young people with terminal illnesses who wish to end their life in a way they choose and with dignity.”
The Queensland Parliamentary Health Committee is scheduled to table its report on voluntary assisted dying along with its report on aged care, end-of-life and palliative care to the Legislative Assembly by March 31, 2020.
Ms Jacobs said the report was expected to recommend legalising voluntary assisted dying and the best chance of it happening was to have a Bill drawn up, voted on and tabled in parliament before the next election six months later.
She is encouraging nurses, like herself, who may have witnessed patients dying in difficult circumstances to visit their local Members of parliament to present them with evidence-based information put together by the Clem Jones group that she can provide to them.
“I think if it’s coming from nurses it’s quite powerful,” she said.
After former Brisbane Lord Mayor Clem Jones’ wife passed away from cancer in a painful death Mr Jones put aside a substantial amount of money in a trust to assist in obtaining legislation on VAD.
For more information, email Ms Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org