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After 13 days without food and hydration Terri Schiavo died in a Florida hospice. Seven years of court battles, including six unsuccessful attempts to have the Supreme Court intervene, resulted in a highly divisive media frenzy over this reputedly shy woman who has been unresponsive for 15 years. The Vatican likened her death to "capital punishment for an innocent person"; her parents called removal of the feeding tube "judicial homicide."
The World Federation of Right to Die Societies (an international non-governmental organization) is aware of the increasing concern to many individuals over their right to die with dignity. Believing in the rights and freedom of all persons, we affirm this right to die with dignity, meaning in peace and without suffering.
EXIT now has some 50,000 members. Advice on Living Wills and keeping records of the documents of EXIT members is a large part of the organization’s work. In 2004 EXIT accompanied 153 persons at assisted suicides. The average age was 73 years with a range from 36 to 95. Pre-conditions for assisted suicides are: membership in EXIT Deutsche Schweiz; decision-making capacity; a continuing wish to die; and a hopeless prognosis.
Consumer-focused website, with (among others) Advance Directives for all states of the US.
Taken from the World Right-to-Die Newsletter issue no. 46, Januray 2005.
Published 09 January 2006 in 'The Australian'
Phililp Nitschke and Dr. Fiona Stewart just released their new book, Killing Me Softly: Voluntary Euthanasia and the Road to the Peaceful Pill amid media and public attention in Australia. It is the explanation for Dr. Nitschke’s pursuit of methods people can use themselves though it is not a how-to book.
Besides the Netherlands, the only country where a doctor is allowed to take the life of a patient - and only ever at the patient's request - is Belgium.
Physician-assisted suicide is allowed in Switzerland and in the state of Oregon in the US. There doctors do not perform euthanasia, but they can provide patients with the means to take their own life.
A petition with over eight thousand signatures was presented to the Parliament by the Deputy Premier on Tuesday 17th July.
On 9 June the national consultative committee on ethics (CCNE) presented an opinion on “the refusal of treatment and the autonomy of the person”. The CCNE has formulated a number of recommendations seeking to reconcile new rights for patients with the duties of doctors. It insists on the absolute need “to respect individual liberty” and states “the refusal of treatment clearly expressed by a person over the age of majority who still has control of their faculties has to be respected, even if it leads to death”.