South Australia has moved a step closer to legalising voluntary euthanasia after a vote was passed in the Upper House supporting the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.
The proposed legislation was passed by Legislative Council members by a vote of 14 to seven late on Wednesday, May 5, in what was the 17th attempt to pass the measure through state parliament in 26 years.
The next step is to pass the Bill, which is modelled on Victoria's voluntary dying laws, through the Lower House.
It includes 70 safeguards and requires approval by two separate doctors within a prescribed time frame.
The news was welcomed by Whyalla resident Josie Hocking, who lost her daughter Vicki after a painful battle with ovarian cancer in 2005.
"I think it is a good first start, but a lot of people in the Lower House are probably against it," she said.
"[Passing the Bill] will give people who are suffering a choice.
"If you had seen how my daughter suffered in her last three months, it was the most horrific way of dying you could imagine and if she had the choice, she wouldn't have had to go through that."
Vicki died aged 40 after three years in which she underwent chemotherapy, on and off.
Ms Hocking said when her daughter realised she was terminally ill, she stopped chemotherapy and from then "she had six months of life, before her cancer caused her to starve to death over the next three months".
"We played her late father's favourite DVD to encourage him to come and get her."
She said it was an "extremely difficult" situation.
"My daughter left a domestic violence situation when she knew she was going to die and I looked after her at home for two months and then in the hospital for a month," Ms Hocking said.
"The things that happened to her body you could not imagine in your wildest imagining, and for her to go through that is just cruel and it stays with me."
According to data released by Voluntary Assisted Dying South Australia (VADSA), voters in the electorate of Giles were supportive of voluntary assisted dying laws.
Across the electorate, 76 per cent of respondents to the 2019 ABC Vote Compass survey believe terminally ill patients should be able to end their own lives with medical assistance.
VADSA spokesperson Lainie Anderson said the overwhelming community support was heartening.
"We want this Bill to succeed so the people of South Australia finally get access to choice and compassion at end of life," she said.
"The current Bill ... is mirrored on the Victorian law which has now been in place for more than 18 months, providing reassurance, dignity and control for those with a terminal illness."
Labor MP Clare Scriven, who voted against the Bill on Wednesday, was concerned it was too early to judge the impact of the Victorian laws, which came into effect in mid-2019.
"In the first years of new legislation there tends to be strict adherence, but culture changes over time and therefore practice changes over time," she said.
"Which is why the less than two years of experience in Victoria is insufficient to form an informed view about whether that legislation is working in the way it was intended."