The World Medical Association (WMA) and its national member medical associations including the Australian Medical Association, have strongly reiterated their long-standing opposition to physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia on the basis that they constitute the unethical practice of medicine, believing this approach to be “immoral in the medical context“.
This announcement came just as Australia’s Victorian Upper House was about to pass judgement on the euthanasia draft law voted in by the Lower House. The WMA is calling for this law to be rejected.
In citing its declaration, the WMA explains that “physician-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is contrary to medical ethics and must be condemned by the medical profession. When a doctor deliberately and intentionally helps to end a person’s life, that doctor is committing an immoral act“.
Although euthanasia is legal in some countries, “the WMA clings steadfastly to its belief that euthanasia is in direct conflict with the basic principles of medical ethics and actively encourages all national medical associations and doctors to refuse to participate in euthanasia even if national legislation allows this or decriminalises it in certain situations“.
The WMA is concerned that the legalisation of euthanasia in the State of Victoria will create a “situation of direct conflict with the ethical obligations of doctors towards their patients”. It is also concerned that “vulnerable people” will be exposed to “abuse” as a result of the legitimisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
World Medical Association (27/10/2017)