On Friday the 1st of November, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Jason Hsu unveiled a “dignified end of life” bill, which would be Asia’s first special act on euthanasia if passed.
A survey conducted by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics found that Taiwanese people spend an average of 8.8 years living in poor health, while the Ministry of the Interior forecasts that the nation’s elderly population would exceed 2 million people in a decade, Jason Hsu told a news conference in Taipei. Euthanasia has gained the support of the majority of society in the past few years, Hsu said, and 98 percent of the more than 2,000 people who were interviewed, supported legalizing euthanasia on the conditions that applicants are required to go through an elaborate review procedure and that there are sufficient accompanying measures.
Hsu added that the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Colombia, Canada and Victoria, Australia, have legalized physician-assisted suicide and voluntary active euthanasia, while Switzerland, Finland, Austria, Germany and nine US states have legalized physician-assisted suicide.
Hsu explained that the bill would require a euthanasia applicant to fulfill several conditions. First, they must have an incurable disease and be experiencing intolerable pain, and both the physician and the patient must agree that there are no reasonable alternatives to euthanasia. Second, the patient must file three applications and pass a final review. Third, the patient must have undergone evaluations by a professional medical team. Finally, a “dignified end of life” committee should be established to conduct reviews before and after euthanasia is administered.
Hsu added that physicians should be given the right to refuse to perform euthanasia: “We cannot decide how we come into this world, but I believe that we should be able to decide how to walk the last mile”.
The bill has advanced to committee review and Hsu hopes that it would pass a third reading before the end of the current legislative session. Hsu calls for non partisan support from fellow lawmakers.
Read more on the website of Taipeitimes.