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(originally published a couple of years ago to Bubblews writing site, now gone)

What is your view of voluntary euthanasia, or assisted suicide, for terminally ill and suffering patients?

In Australia, after more than 10 hours of debate on October 16-17 [2013], the Tasmanian state parliament lower house rejected a voluntary euthanasia bill, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, by 13 votes to 11. Most Labor Party (center left) and all Greens (left) members supported it while all Liberal Party (center right) members opposed it. This is despite 80 percent of Tasmanians supporting the bill. In 2009, a similar bill was rejected 15-7.

No Australian state or territory allows voluntary euthanasia, although it was legalised in the Northern Territory in 1995 but overturned by the federal government in 1997. In the aftermath of the recent Tasmanian decision, leading Australian media site ninemsn is running a poll asking: Do you support voluntary euthanasia? By end of Thursday, there are about 83,000 yes votes and 16,000 no votes.

I see voluntary euthanasia is legal is a few other countries and states, including Belgium from 2002, Colombia from 2010 for certain diseases, India from 2011 for passive euthanasia (which is effectively the same as in Australia, Ireland and Mexico), Japan in some circumstances, Luxembourg from 2009, Netherlands from 2002 and Switzerland from 1942, as well as the US states of Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

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