Fact sheet

Fact Check: Has assisted dying been a legal slippery slope overseas?

Australian Labor Party Assisted dying Medical law

The right to die remains a fiery issue in Australia, with Victoria the latest state to consider the issue. Writing in a newspaper article former prime minister Paul Keating warned that once termination of life is authorised it is much easier to liberalise the conditions governing the law. Invoking a "slippery slope" argument, he wrote: "The experience of overseas jurisdictions suggests the pressures for further liberalisation are irresistible." In places that have legalised assisted dying, has further change really been irresistible? RMIT ABC Fact Check found Mr Keating's claim doesn't check out. In most jurisdictions where assisted dying has been legalised, little has changed regarding what practices are allowed or who can access assisted dying. But such countries allow euthanasia; what's proposed for Victoria is predominantly an assisted suicide model. This makes it more similar to the North American jurisdictions, where there has been almost no change. Canada's framework is still new and may yet evolve as it is challenged in the courts. But despite pressure for change in the United States, there has been no further liberalisation in any of the five states involved. This includes Oregon, where the system has been operating since 1997.
Verdict: Doesn't check out

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