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28 Oct 2017

Following media reports about the World Medical Association (WMA) and Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, the Federal AMA wishes to clarify differences between the WMA’s Declaration on Euthanasia and the Federal AMA’s Position Statement on Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that the AMA is proud to be a member of the WMA, and was one of its founding members when it was established in 1947.

“Of the WMA's 109 constituent National Medical Associations, 107 oppose Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide,” Dr Gannon said.

“The AMA's Position Statement is largely in line with the WMA policy in stating that 'doctors should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person's life'.

“However, the AMA's Position Statement, which was updated in 2016, ‘recognises that there are divergent views within the medical profession and the broader community in relation to Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide’.

“Further, 'the AMA acknowledges that laws in relation to Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide are ultimately a matter for society and government'.

“The AMA has grave concerns about the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill currently before the Victorian Parliament, and we oppose it.

“But we have not and will not describe doctors who support or participate in Euthanasia or Physician Assisted Suicide as unethical.

“Learning from the Dutch and Canadian experience, the AMA believes that doctors who participate in Euthanasia or Physician Assisted Suicide are more likely to require the industrial, professional, medico-legal, and pastoral support of organisations like the AMA,” Dr Gannon said.

Published: 28 Oct 2017