Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude
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Dying With Dignity Bill 2009

What follows are the parts of a euthanasia/assisted suicide bill which pertain to protection of freedom of conscience. Note the following:

  • Section 6 permits refusal for any reason, but appears to limit the refusals allowed to the actual performance of the lethal act;
  • The immunities offered by the bill do not cover acts of negligence. Negligence is defined to exclude euthanasia or assisted suicide, but not to exclude refusing euthanasia or assisted suicide.
  • 22(2) would appear to require objecting denominational health care institutions to permit assisted suicide and euthanasia on their premises.
Response of medical practitioner

6. A medical practitioner who receives a request referred to in section 5, if satisfied that the conditions of section 8 have been met, but subject to section 9 and 10, may assist the sufferer to end the sufferer's life in accordance with this Act or, for any reason and at any time, refuse to give that assistance.


22. (1) A person must not be subject to civil or criminal action or professional disciplinary action for anything done in good faith and without negligence in compliance with this Act, including being present when a sufferer takes a substance prescribed for or supplied to the sufferer as the result of the request for assistance under this Act to end the sufferer's life.

(2) A professional organisation or association or health care provider must not subject a person to censure, discipline, suspension, loss of licence, certificate or other authority to practise, loss of privilege, loss of membership or other penalty for anything that, in good faith and without negligence, was done or refused to be done by the person and which may under this Act lawfully be done or refused to be done.

(3) A request by a sufferer for assistance under this Act, or giving of such assistance in good faith by a medical practitioner in compliance with this Act, does not constitute neglect for any purpose of law.

(4) A health care provider is not under any duty, whether by contract, statute or other legal requirement, to participate in the provision to a sufferer of assistance under this Act, and if a health care provider is unable or unwilling to carry out a direction of a medical practitioner for the purpose of the medical practitioner assisting a sufferer under this Act and the sufferer transfers his or her care to another health care provider, the former health care provider must, on request, transfer a copy of the sufferer's relevant medical records to the new health care provider.