First published on YMCA Press Gallery: https://ymcapressgallery.com/2016/06/27/euthanasia-makes-for-emotional-issue/
Students in Victoria have overwhelmingly supported a bill calling for the de-criminalisation of euthanasia.
The issue is being debated by all Youth Parliaments across Australia.
A conscience vote saw the bill pass with support to “allow Australians the right to choose their fate”.
De-criminalising euthanasia has been debated seven times across previous years, but Victorian Youth Governor Caitlin Meyer said it was worth trying again.
“The topic has been heard before,” she said. “But we are adding our voice to the chorus.”
Ms Meyer said with access to technology, opinions are becoming more reasoned and researched than ever.
“The days in which children should be seen and not heard are a thing of the past,” she said.
Euthanasia may seem an unusual topic for young people to debate – death, recognised by parliamentarians, isn’t at the forefront for many young people.
But its significance became clear as members drew on personal experiences, describing seeing loved ones and family members suffer from the pain of a terminal illness.
“We have to wait and watch as they suffer. At the time, I would have done anything to end their suffering,” said oneyouth parliamentarian.
“And looking back, I still would have ended their pain in a heartbeat.”
As emotions increased, the Deputy Premier recognised that euthanasia is a personal and emotional issue, but reminded all youth parliamentarians the decriminalisation of euthanasia is about choice.
She said every individual‘s experience of terminal illness will be different.
“There is no one feeling or emotion that can be stuck on and labeled,” she said.
“That is why we must provide a choice.”
Melbourne Girls College student Dakotah Taylor said individuals should have the choice to die medically and legally with the support of loved ones if terminally ill.
“When to die is their choice, not something the government should decide for them,” she said.