Australia: Voluntary euthanasia for the seriously ill becomes legal in Victoria
Voluntary euthanasia has become legal in the Australian state of Victoria, Reuters reports.
The law came into force 18 months after being passed by the state parliament in November 2017.
In order to be eligible, a person aged 18 or more must have an advanced disease that causes them unacceptable suffering and is likely to cause death within six months, or 12 in the case of neurodegenerative diseases.
They must also have been living in Victoria for at least 12 months and be a permanent resident or a citizen of Australia.
Doctors and health practitioners are free to refuse to take part in the process.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is opposed to doctor-assisted suicide, claiming that palliative care can deal with pain.
Religious groups also oppose the law, saying it devalues life.
“This is about giving people who are suffering intolerably from an incurable disease a voluntary, compassionate choice over the manner of their death,” Jenny Mikakos, the state’s health minister, said in a statement.