Australian state close to legalising euthanasia

6/10/2021

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South Australia (SA) is set to become the fourth state in the country to legalise euthanasia after a landmark vote on Thursday.

The lower house of SA's parliament voted 33-11 in favour of giving terminally ill patients the right to request a lethal drug to end their lives, reports Xinhua news agency.

The vote took place in the early hours of Thursday morning after a six-hour debate on the legislation.

It represented the 17th attempt in 26 years to legalise voluntary assisted dying in the state.

The upper house voted 14-7 in favour of the bill in May but will have to vote again after several amendments were added to it.

If endorsed again there, it will make SA the fourth Australian state to legalizs euthanasia after Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.

MP Kyam Maher, who co-sponsored the bill with colleague Susan Close, said it was historic for SA.

Maher became an advocate for euthanasia after witnessing his mother die in pain from terminal cancer.

In order to be eligible for voluntary assisted dying in SA, a patient must be an Australian citizen over the age of 18 who has lived in SA for at least one year.

They must have a terminal condition expected to cause intolerable suffering and death within months, and the decision must be approved by two doctors separately within a prescribed time frame.

Both SA Premier Steven Marshall and opposition leader Peter Malinauskas voted in favour of the bill but Malinauskas said the decision weighed heavily on him.

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