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SA euthanasia bill amended to lift support

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The voluntary euthanasia bill in South Australia has been amended to exclude disability and mental illness as grounds for euthanasia.

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Labor’s Steph Key and Liberal’s Duncan McFetridge have announced the changes in a bid to boost the chance of success for their bill, which is due to be debated in the SA parliament this week.

The amendments ensure only a mentally competent person is able to request voluntary euthanasia, and exclude disability, age and mental health as reasons for a request.

“Only a person with a terminal medical condition will be able to make a request,” Key said.

“”No one will be able to make a request for voluntary euthanasia on the grounds of their disability, their age or their mental health condition.”

The amendments also define a terminal medical condition as one that is incurable and clarify that a person’s suffering from the condition must have become intolerable.

“Two different doctors will need to confirm each person meets the criteria,” Key said.

“That they have a terminal medical condition, that it is incurable, and that there are no further palliative care options acceptable to the person.”

The bill will be subject to a conscience vote by both the major parties but is likely to be referred to a committee later this week for further consideration.

Both Premier Jay Weatherill and Opposition Leader Steven Marshall have supported the need for a full parliamentary debate.

Public opinion has been split on the idea, with some Christian and disability groups opposing it while other similar groups have supported it.

TV personalities Andrew Denton and David Koch have thrown their support behind it as well.

This is the 14th attempt to pass such laws in SA and if successful the state will become the first in Australia to have voluntary euthanasia.

The Victorian Labor government is also poised to introduce similar laws, while a recent case in Western Australia has sparked renewed debate.

AAP

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