Dying with Dignity NSW is happy to work with any groups who share our mission of enhancing choice and ending suffering, particularly at the end of life. Following are some of the key groups involved in this advocacy space.
Other State Dying with Dignity Groups
Dying with Dignity ACT believes everyone deserves a peaceful death. Prior to 2012 Dying with Dignity ACT was a branch of Dying with Dignity NSW. They incorporated their group because the end-of-life law governing the ACT is very different from that which applies to the state of NSW.
Dying with Dignity Victoria is an active law reform and ‘self help’ organisation pursuing public policies and laws in the state of Victoria that enhance self-determination and dignity at the end of life.
Dying with Dignity Queensland. believes that people, particularly those who are elderly or who are suffering from a terminal or hopeless illness, should not be forced to endure severe distress against their wishes.
South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES) belives that there are those among us whose personal circumstances and life perspective lead them to rationally consider a medically induced death and that it is wrong to deny that option in all circumstances: and voluntary euthanasia is a desperately needed emergency exit for some.
Dying with Dignity Tasmania seeks to achieve legislation giving effect to freedom of choice and individual human rights, so that any person suffering through illness or other medical condition, severe pain or distress for which no remedy is available that is acceptable to the person, should be entitled by law to a painless and dignified death in accordance with that person’s expressed direction.
Dying with Dignity Western Australia (known as the Western Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society or WAVES unil Nov 2016), seeks to bring about changes to the law and to medical ethics to allow a person, suffering severe pain or distress with no reasonable prospect of recovery, to receive, with the proper safeguards, a painless medically assisted and dignified death in accordance with his or her expressed wishes.
Northern Territory Voluntary Euthanasia Society (NTVES) was formed in 1995 after the passage of Voluntary Euthanasia legislation in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. Marshall Perron’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act (ROTI) was the world’s first VE legislation. It survived several appeals and became usable on 1 July 1996. Four people made use of ROTI before a private member’s bill in Federal Parliament in March 1997 took away the right of a territory parliament to make VE legislation. The States of Australia still have that right.
Other Australian groups supporting voluntary assisted dying
Go Gentle Australia is a non-profit group started by Andrew Denton in 2016 to help relieve the distress, helplessness and suffering experienced by Australians with untreatable or terminal illnesses, their families and carers. Their primary focus is on the creation of compassionate and sensible assisted dying laws, based on the evidence-based success of similar laws overseas.
Go Gentle Australia has focused their current campaign on the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill and have a dedicated and informative website Stop Victorians Suffering
Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice (previously known as Doctors for Voluntary Euthanasia Choice) are a national organisation of Australian medical practitioners, both current and retired, who are committed to having a legal choice of providing information and assistance to rational adults, who, for reasons of having no realistic chance of cure or relief from intolerable symptoms, would like to gently end their lives
DyingForChoice.com was launched in June 2015 by Neil Francis (past President and CEO of Dying With Dignity Victoria) with the aim of providing up-to-date and evidence-backed information related to law reform for voluntary assisted dying.
End of Life Law in Australia developed by the Australian Centre for Health Law Research (Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane) provides accurate, practical and relevant information for patients, families, health and legal practitioners, the media, policymakers and the broader community about Australian laws relating to death, dying and end of life decision-making.
International groups supporting voluntary assisted dying
End-of-Life Choices Society NZ seeks a change to the law to allow terminally ill patients, or those whose quality of life has diminished to an unacceptable extent, the right to a peaceful death with dignity at a time of their own choosing.
Dignity in Dying UK – are a national campaign and membership organisation with over 25,000 active supporters campaigning to legalise assisted dying, within upfront safeguards, for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.
Compassion & Choices – the USA’s oldest and largest non-profit organization committed to improving care and expanding choice at the end of life. They work to authorize and implement medical aid in dying across the USA, to allow mentally capable adults in their final weeks or months of a terminal disease to advance the time of death and end unbearable suffering.
Dying With Dignity Canada – are a national, member-based charity committed to helping people achieve quality in dying. We help people understand all end-of-life options and work for choice in dying for all Canadians.
Since 1942 Switzerland has allowed voluntary assisted dying (VAD) provided the motives of the person assisting are not selfish. Switzerland is the only country in the world that allows non-citizens to receive VAD provided they meet strict criteria:
• 18 years or over
• capable of sound judgement; able to consent to the procedure
• able to administer the lethal substance to themselves
• does not have a mental illness
There are currently three main Swiss organisations offering an assisted death:
DIGNITAS – is the most prominent Swiss organisation providing VAD to foreigners. It was founded in May 1998 with the aim of allowing non-Swiss individuals access to the proven Swiss model of freedom of choice, self-determination and personal responsibility at life’s end. A German arm of this group was established in 2005. DIGNITAS’ activities go beyond accompanied suicide, with a large part of their work being counselling of persons – mostly from abroad – who get in touch with them in writing or by telephone for a variety of reasons. Since 2012 Dignitas has provided VAD to just over 200 people per year.
NB: A statement from Dignitas in August 2017 included the warning that “Preparing and carrying out accompanied suicide is very labour-intensive and complex, especially with individuals from abroad. The costs associated with it cannot always be fully borne by the members themselves. The Swiss legal system imposes strict rules about allowing people from abroad to have access to a voluntary assisted death with Dignitas, investigating every death to ensure safety and transparency.” – see Dignitas note 210817
Lifecircle started in 2011 and offers VAD to foreigners and people living in Switzerland.
EXIT (Deutsche Schweiz) started in 1982 and provides VAD to Swiss citizens only. It is not related to EXIT International founded by Philip Nitschke.
For more information about the provision of assisted dying in Switzerland to people who are NOT Swiss citizens or permanent residents of Switzerland see our General Questions section and the answer to the question: ‘COULD I GO TO SWITZERLAND TO HAVE AN ASSISTED DEATH?’
Exit International was founded in 1997 by Dr Philip Nitschke and takes a non-medical approach to a person’s right to determine the time and manner of their death. Exit’s aim is to ensure the individual is fully supported by family and friends and has access to the best available information.
Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organisation (ERGO) is a US organisation tjhat sells books, eBooks, DVDs and documents by Derek Humphry and distributes an email blog of any global news, related to voluntary assisted dying, as soon as it happens. ERGO holds that voluntary euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, and self deliverance are all appropriate life endings, depending on the individual medical and ethical circumstances.
My Death My Decision (MDMD) is an assisted dying campaign organisation in the UK which believes that assisted dying should be available to all mentally competent adults with incurable health problems that reduce their quality of life permanently below the level they are willing to accept, provided this is their own persistent request. They do not restrict this right to those who are terminally ill.