Exit Action seeks to push far beyond access to voluntary euthanasia for terminally or incurably ill people… that will take ‘a militant pro-euthanasia position’ to try and force legislative change…
The voluntary euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke has launched a “militant” campaign to push for unrestricted adult access to a peaceful death.
Nitschke announced the launch of Exit Action on Sunday morning, describing the new organisation as a subgroup of Exit International, which campaigns, runs workshops and distributes information on voluntary euthanasia.
Exit Action said it would take “a militant pro-euthanasia position” to coordinate direct action strategies and force legislative change.
“Exit Action is critical of the ‘medical model’ that sees voluntary euthanasia as a privilege given to the very sick by the medical profession,” the organisation said.
“The standard approach for years has been to get the very sick to tell their stories of suffering to the public and politicians, in the hope that politicians might take pity and change the law.”
“Exit Action believes that a peaceful death, and access to the best euthanasia drugs, is a right of all competent adults, regardless of sickness or permission from the medical profession.”
Nitschke also said he expected Exit Action members to launch an online “buyers’ club” for euthanasia drugs regardless of legislation.
The organisation seeks to push far beyond what most right-to-die groups strive for – access to voluntary euthanasia for terminally or incurably ill people – and many of them have sought to distance their campaigns from Nitschke.
Last month the South Australian parliament narrowly voted down the proposed Death With Dignity bill, which sought to legalise voluntary euthanasia for people with a terminal illness and who were suffering unbearable pain that couldn’t be eased by other measures.
That bill had been the subject of a national campaign by Andrew Denton’s Go Gentle Australia advocacy group, which also targeted the Australian Medical Association – which recently upheld its official opposition to euthanasia during a policy review, claiming most of its members were opposed to voluntary euthanasia or unsure.
Go Gentle Australia released a video featuring doctors speaking against the AMA, which represents less than a third of doctors.
Nitschke has for several years campaigned for euthanasia drugs to be available to any competent adult seeking “rational suicide”, not just those who are sick and have the support of a medical professional.
Nitschke and other members of Exit International have been subject to numerous police actions and searches, including an 83-year-old Victorian woman whom Nitschke last month said was visited by federal and Victorian police twice in two weeks. He said the federal officers seized Nembutal, the powerful barbiturate often used for voluntary euthanasia.
Last year he ceremoniously burned his medical licence after the Medical Board of Australia said he could not be a doctor while continuing to campaign for voluntary euthanasia.
Nitschke, who currently lives in the Netherlands, could not be reached for comment.