APHN statement on our stand against the deliberate ending of life

The Asia Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Network promotes access to good-quality hospice and palliative care for all in the Asia Pacific region. We value every moment of life and do not support any action that has the intention of shortening a person’s life. Restoring dignity and enhancing quality of life is the basis of palliative care.

We do not support the deliberate ending of life and we view with concern moves in certain jurisdictions in the region to legalise physician-administered euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.  Licensing doctors to administer or supply lethal drugs to seriously-ill patients has no place in the practice of health care.  Such moves devalue the dying and undermine society’s responsibility to protect its most vulnerable members.

Australia and New Zealand are acknowledged leaders in fostering palliative care development in the Asia Pacific region. In much of this region, pioneers are struggling to establish good end-of-life services in the face of little political and financial support. Eighty percent of the world’s dying has little or no access to morphine for pain relief.

The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have been ranked as the top three countries worldwide in the 2015 Economist Quality of Death Index. The eyes of the world are on these nations and on how they discharge their responsibilities to dying people.

For those of us trying to improve end-of-life care, licensing doctors to provide or administer lethal drugs to patients poses serious risks of sabotaging efforts around the globe to convince governments that pain relief and good end-of-life care are basic human rights.

The Asia Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Network appeals to you therefore to recognise your responsibilities on the world stage when considering any proposed legislation before you.

Yours faithfully

Associate Professor Cynthia Goh
Chair, Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network

Thank you everyone for your support. The comments section is closed. You may read the archived comments below.

Comments from the community:

“Thank you for highlighting the risk that legalising assisted dying risks sabotaging efforts to improve pain management, palliative care and end of life care in countries where there is a poor commitment to human rights.”

“The vast majority of patients can die comfortably with good palliative care. Resources are better utilised enhancing good palliative care, rather than developing morally and ethically grey services (Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide) that may only benefit a very small minority. Society should evolve to compassionately care for dying patients, and not evolve towards using euthanasia as a convenient but cold alternative.”

“It is a matter of urgency to stop this move to legalize Euthanasia, whatever else it may be called, PAS or MAID etc.”

“As a specialist physician in Palliative Care for 34 years I have assisted more than 30,000 people at the end of their lives. I have never killed anyone and find the idea abhorrent.”

“Human rights is the right to live till the end”

“We need palliative care not euthanasia”

“I support the APHN statement against Physician assisted suicide and Euthanasia”

“Respecting life is to allow the person to live to the end with holistic support”

“They say assisted dying doesn’t hurt palliative care. Sign up to show you disagree.”

“I fully support the APHN stance on resisting any law change on assisted dying”

“No to Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide! We are committed to the defense of human life from womb to tomb. There is a time to live and a time to die. Let us not artificially prolong nor shorten life or the dying process. It’s all about respect, stewardship, and accountability.”

“To take care of Elders and Sick people is Asian tradition. We should generate multidimensional & creative ways to reduce the sufferings at the end-of-life, not PAS/Euthanasia.”

“End of life care/ care of terminally ill is NOT physician assisted suicide.”

“There can be no guaranteed legal protection for those that are vulnerable against coercion if euthanasia is legalised. The focus needs to be on equitable and good palliative care for all.”

“I wholeheartedly support the invaluable skill and support that is given to patients from our own Palliative Care team. I would also welcome more frontline education given to medical staff to enable more “to get on board with timely and compassionate” patient referrals to the Palliative team. I would also support more funding to enable more frontline staff to be trained and encouraged to “grow” Palliative services in our mainstream hospitals. Thank you”

“Better understanding of palliative care by both health professionals and the community is needed to overcome the myths of euthanasia and the slippery slope of legal quagmire if euthanasia was to be legalised in Victoria.”

“The Chinese word for euthanasia is 安乐死, which literally means “happy death”. However, “happy death” is not the same as “Happy. Death”

“Doctors never kill. Even at the last moment of life has its own values.”

“Palliative care provides comfort for patient till the end of their life, it does not provide comfort to end their life.”

“We need to find better ways to care for human beings that are suffering instead of silencing the sufferer through actions of euthanasia or to provide the means for assisted dying to occur. Fund better care options for the chronically ill and dying – not legislate against the living that are already vulnerable and need care”

Published on: 2 August, 2017 | Last modified: 16 October, 2020