Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care
(Voluntary Euthanasia) Amendment Bill 2008
What follows are the parts of a
euthanasia bill that pertain to protection
of freedom of conscience. Note the following:
- Section 48 protects those who perform or
assist in voluntary euthanasia, but not
those who refuse to do so.
- Section 49(1) permits medical
practitioners to refuse to perform
euthanasia for any reason. It is not clear
whether or not this protection would extend
to refusing to facilitate the procedure.
The bill was defeated in November, 2009.
48-Protection from liability
A medical practitioner who administers voluntary
euthanasia, or a person who assists in the
administration of voluntary euthanasia, incurs no
civil or criminal liability by doing so (including,
to avoid doubt, in disciplinary proceedings or
49-Person may decline to administer or assist
the administration of voluntary euthanasia
(1) A medical practitioner may decline to carry
out a request for the administration of voluntary
euthanasia on any grounds.
(2) However, if a medical practitioner declines
to administer voluntary euthanasia, he or she must
inform the person that another medical practitioner
may be prepared to consider the request.
(3) A person may decline to assist a medical
practitioner to administer voluntary euthanasia on
any grounds without prejudice to the person's
employment or any other form of adverse
35 (4) The administering authority of a hospital,
hospice, nursing home or other institution for the
care of the sick or infirm may refuse to permit
voluntary euthanasia within the institution but, if
it does so, must take steps to ensure that such
refusal is brought to the attention of patients
entering the institution in accordance with the