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The Exit Internationalist

November 28, 2023

Press Release – Ireland Joint Commmittee

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Dr Philip Nitschke, Founder and Director of Exit international will address the Joint Committee on Assisted Dying at 20.30 Tuesday 28 Nov in Committee Room No.4 LH2000, Leinster House.

In 1996 the Northern Territory of Australia passed The Rights of the Terminally Ill (ROTI) Act.

It was a world first!

Four of Dr Nitschke’s terminally ill patients received legal, lethal voluntary injections under this legislation before it was overturned by the Australian Federal parliament.

Lessons learned from that experience and in the decades since, will be the subject of the presentation and questioning from the Committee members.

In particular, Dr Nitschke will invite the Committee to reflect on the differences between the ‘Medical’ model of assisted dying legislation, now used in many countries, and the ‘Human Rights’ based laws in place in Switzerland.

Dr Nitschke will argue that there are structural and philosophical problems with medical model laws that seek to medically define and categorise some degree of suffering before a person is deemed ‘eligible’ for any assistance to die.

It will be argued that the medical model (where ‘doctor knows best’) strips the decision-making away from the person seeking help. This often leads to an unjust and inequitable situation.

One example previously provided to the Committee is that of Marie Fleming, the partner of Tom Curran.

Tom made the point when addressing the Committee in October. He pointed out that under the medical model being discussed, Marie would not have qualified for any assistance.

With the Swiss ‘human rights’ model the decision making and control of the process rests with the person seeking death.

Medical involvement is restricted to an advisory role. Under the human rights model, Marie could lawfully receive the help she so desperately sought.

Speaking from the Netherlands, Dr Nitschke said that the Irish Parliament was in a unique position to learn from the mistakes of other countries and introduce legislation that would lead the way in all of Europe.

“Many countries, including the NL where I live, have simply copied the early Australian law. These countries are now paying a price, with repeated court challenges to define who exactly is ‘eligible’ for assistance to die.

“Ireland can avoid these legal problems, by introducing rights-based legislation from the get-go.

“This would acknowledge and respect the views of a rational adult requesting assistance.

“I urge the Committee to consider this option” he said.

Dr Nitschke will also stress to the Committee the importance of leaving open the method used to bring about death.

“This would allow the option of using new and very effective strategies, such as inert nitrogen gas, with any new introduced legislation” he said.

END_______ 28 November 2023

Contact: Dr Philip Nitschke +31 6309 66992 Tom Curran 087 256 2714

Email: Web:

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