'Mum, I'm sorry': Daughter plagued with guilt over mother's slow death | ACT | Office Space Canberra \
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‘Mum, I’m sorry’: Daughter plagued with guilt over mother’s slow death

Updated October 19, 2017 18:01:59

Rosemary Dupont’s mother felt she a had a fabulous life, and as a nurse who was regularly confronted with death, formed strong views on her right to end it if she was faced with that decision.

She died in 2014 after enduring a decade of deteriorating health conditions including dementia, arthritis and a poor heart.

Ms Dupony said she felt guilt every day over being unable to fulfil her mother’s desire to be euthanised.

“One of the things she made me promise her was that she would not die terribly,” Ms Dupont said.

“I remember one day going to see her when she was bedridden. She said ‘Rosemary, you promised me I wouldn’t die like this’.”

“And I looked at her and said ‘Mum, I’m sorry, there’s not much I can do for you’.”

Ms Dupont felt her mother, along with others whose dire health had robbed them of a fulfilling life, should have the choice to die.

But years of advocating for the legalisation of euthanasia before and after her mother’s death were unsuccessful.

This was despite the ACT Government expressing it was not opposed to debating the issue. Federal law prevents them from doing so.

Greens call for lifting of ‘gag order’ on euthanasia legislation

The Victorian Parliament is preparing to vote on assisted dying legislation, prompting the ACT Greens to push for a gag order on similar proposals in the territory lifted.

Federal law prevents the ACT from legalising euthanasia because of a private members’ bill named for conservative backbencher Kevin Andrews, introduced after the Northern Territory legalised euthanasia in 1995.

The 20-year-old piece of legislation prevents the ACT from bringing in its own laws on assisted dying.

ACT Greens MP Caroline Le Couteur says it is time the law was repelled so Canberrans could stop being treated “like second-class citizens”.

“We need to treat the people of Canberra like that adults they are. This is discrimination against us,” she said.

“The ACT Greens are calling for the right for terminally ill people [in Canberra] to choose what they want to do.

“Currently this can’t even be debated in the ACT Legislative Assembly.”

Assisted dying advocate Rodney Syme, also the vice-president of Dying With Dignity Victoria, has been lobbying for 30 years.

Mr Syme said he believed fewer people would end their lives violently if they could instead do so voluntarily, with administered “medication”.

“The Victorian coroner, in his evidence, found that people who had [died by] suicide in a violent and lonely way — a significant number of those were people with an end-of-life situation or a very, very severe chronic health problem, ended their life because the structure of medicine and the fear of the law meant they couldn’t talk to the doctor about it,” he said.

“And if they did they knew he couldn’t do anything.”

Topics: euthanasia, community-and-society, canberra-2600, act, australia

First posted October 19, 2017 17:52:59

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