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Protection of Conscience Project

www.consciencelaws.org

Service, not Servitude
Proposed Protection of Conscience Laws
Australia
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Western Australia

Bill 108 (2010)

Voluntary Euthanasia Bill

What follows are the parts of a euthanasia bill which pertain to protection of freedom of conscience.

It does not appear that the attending medical practitioner can delegate the act of euthanasia to anyone else.

Note:

  • the purposes of the Act set out in Section 4 do not include the protection of conscientious objectors;
  • the protection under Section 5 extends to everyone, not just medical practitioners;
  • Section 8 explicitly recognizes that a medical practitioner may refuse to assess a euthanasia request, and no obligation is imposed by law to refer or otherwise assist the applicant to find a willing practitioner.
  • Section 15 provides protection from civil and criminal liability and disciplinary proceedings for those involved in processing and fulfilling euthanasia requests, but does not offer similar protection to an objector under Section 5. It is possible that the section could be interpreted to provide such protection, but, particularly in view of purposes of the bill (Section 4), this is by no means certain.
  • There is no provision to protect persons who object to euthanasia for reasons of conscience from discrimination in education or employment.

4. Purpose of Act

It is the purpose of this Act to provide immunity from criminal or civil liability to a person who does or omits to do any thing that is required to give effect to the provisions of this Act, provided that what is done or omitted to be done, is done in accordance with this Act.

5. No obligation

No person may be compelled to do or omit to do any thing required or permitted under this Act if that act or omission is contrary to that person's conscience or beliefs.

8. Referral of request to medical practitioner

(1) A request may be referred to a medical practitioner, who may or may not agree to assess that request.

(5) If a particular medical practitioner does not agree to assess a particular request, an applicant may make that same request to other medical practitioners.

15. Immunity from criminal or civil liability

(1) An applicant, the applicant's medical practitioner, the second assessing medical practitioner, the observing medical practitioner and any other person who does or omits to do any thing required or permitted under this Act:

(a) does not incur any criminal or civil liability; and

(b) is not liable to any disciplinary proceeding; and

(c) is not liable to any other negative action from any relevant professional bodies, if what the person did, or omitted to do, in relation to the relevant applicant, was done in accordance with this Act.

(2) A person who does not do any thing required or permitted under this Act, but who provides incidental practical or emotional support to the applicant, does not incur any criminal or civil liability by reason of having provided that support.

 

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