Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Jason Hsu (許毓仁) yesterday unveiled a “dignified end of life” bill, which would be Asia’s first special act on euthanasia if passed.
A survey conducted by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics found that Taiwanese spend an average of 8.8 years living in poor health, while the Ministry of the Interior forecast that the nation’s elderly population would exceed 2 million people in a decade, Hsu told a news conference in Taipei.
Euthanasia has gained the support of the majority of society in the past few years, Hsu said, citing a survey conducted by his office, which found that 98 percent of the more than 2,000 people interviewed supported legalizing euthanasia on the conditions that applicants are required to go through an elaborate review procedure and that there are sufficient accompanying measures.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
Meanwhile, euthanasia has gained support in several countries and regions, he said.
The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Colombia, Canada and Victoria, Australia, have legalized physician-assisted suicide and voluntary active euthanasia, while Switzerland, Finland, Austria, Germany and nine US states have legalized physician-assisted suicide, he added.
The bill would require a euthanasia applicant to fulfill several conditions, Hsu said.
First, they must have an incurable disease and be experiencing intolerable pain, he said, adding that both the physician and the patient must agree that there are no reasonable alternatives to euthanasia.
Second, the patient must file three applications and pass a final review, he said.
Third, the patient must have undergone evaluations by a professional medical team, he added.
A “dignified end of life” committee should be established to conduct reviews before and after euthanasia is administered, Hsu said.
Physicians should be given the right to refuse to perform euthanasia, he added.
“We cannot decide how we come into this world, but I believe that we should be able to decide how to walk the last mile,” Hsu said.
The bill has advanced to committee review and he hopes that it would pass a third reading before the end of the current legislative session, Hsu said, calling for nonpartisan support from fellow lawmakers.
Fu Chun-hao (傅俊豪) said his father, Fu Da-ren (傅達仁), a celebrated sports anchor, had to visit Switzerland twice before he underwent euthanasia last year, as it is not allowed in Taiwan.
“It was not a regrettable, sad or horrific scene, but a painless and warm one,” Fu Chun-hao said. “Surrounded by his family, [my father] drank a cup of medicine, fell asleep in three minutes and stopped breathing 30 seconds later.”
Fu Da-ren had spent his life’s savings, totaling more than NT$3 million (US$98,428), in his battle with cancer, which lasted more than two years, Fu Chun-hao said, adding that his father wanted to use his example to raise public awareness of the importance of legalizing euthanasia.
Fu Chun-hao thanked Hsu for sponsoring the bill, which would give a person in pain the choice of undergoing review.
He expressed hope that lawmakers would act in a nonpartisan manner and clear the bill through the legislative floor with a third reading.
Police have detained a Taoyuan couple suspected of over the past two months colluding with human trafficking rings and employment scammers in Southeast Asia to send nearly 100 Taiwanese jobseekers to Cambodia. At a media briefing in Taipei yesterday, the Criminal Investigation Bureau presented items seized from the couple, including alleged victims’ passports, forged COVID-19 vaccination records, mobile phones, bank documents, checks and cash. The man, surnamed Tsai (蔡), and his girlfriend, surnamed Tsan (詹), were taken into custody last month, after police at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport stopped four jobseekers from boarding a flight to Phnom Penh, said Dustin Lee (李泱輯),
BILINGUAL PLAN: The 17 educators were recruited under a program that seeks to empower Taiwanese, the envoy to the Philippines said The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines on Thursday hosted a send-off event for the first group of English-language teachers from the country who were recruited for a Ministry of Education-initiated program to advance bilingual education in Taiwan. The 14 teachers and three teaching assistants are part of the Taiwan Foreign English Teacher Program, which aims to help find English-language instructors for Taiwan’s public elementary and junior-high schools, the office said. Seventy-seven teachers and 11 teaching assistants from the Philippines have been hired to teach in Taiwan in the coming school year, office data showed. Among the first group is 57-year-old
TRICKED INTO MOVING: Local governments in China do not offer any help, and Taiwanese there must compete with Chinese in an unfamiliar setting, a researcher said Beijing’s incentives for Taiwanese businesspeople to invest in China are only intended to lure them across the Taiwan Strait, after which they receive no real support, an expert said on Sunday. Over the past few years, Beijing has been offering a number of incentives that “benefit Taiwanese in name, while benefiting China in reality,” a cross-strait affairs expert said on condition of anonymity. Strategies such as the “31 incentives” are intended to lure Taiwanese talent, capital and technology to help address China’s economic issues while also furthering its “united front” efforts, they said. Local governments in China do not offer much practical
‘ORDINARY PEOPLE’: A man watching Taiwanese military drills said that there would be nothing anyone could do if the situation escalates in the Taiwan Strait Many people in Taiwan look upon China’s military exercises over the past week with calm resignation, doubting that war is imminent and if anything, feeling pride in their nation’s determination to defend itself. After a visit to Taiwan last week by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China has sent ships and aircraft across an unofficial buffer between Taiwan and China’s coast and missiles over Taipei and into waters surrounding the nation since Thursday last week. However, Rosa Chang, proudly watching her son take part in Taiwanese military exercises that included dozens of howitzers firing shells into the Taiwan Strait off