Adapted from SAVES — South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia SocietyThe following Fact Sheet has been prepared by the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES). For further information visit their website athttp://www.saves.asn.au
Australian Public Opinion
Around three quarters of Australians are in favour of doctors being able to give a lethal dose if requested by a hopelessly ill patient experiencing unrelievable suffering.
This statement is based on responses in Australia to the following Morgan Poll question:
“If a hopelessly ill patient, experiencing unrelievable suffering, with absolutely no chance of recovering, asks for a lethal dose, so as not to wake again, should a doctor be allowed to give a lethal dose or not ?”
47% said “yes” to a similar question in 1962. The percentage has steadily increased over the years and has been above 70% throughout the 1990’s.
78% said “yes” in 1993, in 1994 and again in 1995. 76% said “yes” in September 1996, only 24% saying “no” or “undecided” (Finding No. 2933).
The percentages by religious persuasion saying “yes” in May 1996 (Finding No. 2911) were:
Roman Catholic 69%
Uniting Church 73%
No religious preference 85%
A substantial survey of those who attend church showed that there were more supporters (42%) of voluntary euthanasia than opponents (30%), with 28% undecided. (See “Views from the Pews”, Openbook publishers, Adelaide, 1995).
Polls conducted in Britain, Canada and the United States show support at a similar level.
Although public opinion polls have their weaknesses, there can be no doubt of widespread support for allowing a hopelessly ill and suffering patient legal access to a requested medically hastened death.
Further information contact SAVES at: http://www.saves.asn.au
Or contact: Hon Secretary, SAVES, PO Box 2151, Kent Town, SA 5071, Australia – Fax + 61 8 8265 2287