Western Australian MS sufferer and euthanasia advocate, Barbara Harrison died on the weekend. Reports say that she consumed a bottle of Nembutal procured from Mexico 'through the post'.
The Report in the West Australian said that she had been bed ridden and feared losing the ability to do what was needed to end her own life without assistance. Ms Harrison had been a 'solo-mum' for 18 years and, sadly, passed away before witnessing the graduation of her son. This is very sad.
Ms Harrison had been lobbying WA parliamentarians for sometime on euthanasia law reform. The West Australian reports that she had been back-grounding their journalist for sometime - so we can expect to hear more of this story.
Whether the motivation or the trigger, Fremantle independent MP Adele Carles has weighed in on the debate saying that she will introduce legislation if re-elected at the March general election. Ms Carles said that Ms Harrison’s story should send “a clear message to all politicians that enough is enough and in a civilised society people deserve to end their lives on their terms.”
But that's the point. What would Carles' legislation allow? Would MS sufferers like Ms Harrison be included? The truth is, probably, no.
I'm reminded of a politician in another state who told me that he had been regularly visited by a man who was living with chronic pain, pleading with him to support a euthanasia bill. The sad irony was that the bill in question would not have included this person as a possible candidate - he wasn't dying.
Likewise, I expect that Carles' version would have been of no assistance to Ms Harrison. To write a bill so broad as to include people in her condition or the gentleman I mentioned would be so broad that few MPs would support it. The reality is, of course, that many in the pro-euthanasia movement do support different agendas from the very minimal to total decriminalisation and all points in between. The passage of a minimalist approach bill would not see many in that camp pack up and go home.