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David Goodall, 104-year-old Australian scientist, heads to Switzerland to end life

GENEVA -- A right-to-die activist says a 104-year-old Australian scientist is on his way to Switzerland to end his life through assisted dying. Supporters of renowned academic David Goodall had expressed fears that Australian officials would prevent him from traveling to Europe.

Goodall is not terminally ill, but is seeking what he calls "voluntary euthanasia" on the grounds his quality of life has deteriorated. Swiss law permits assisted suicide, including for foreign nationals. The practice is illegal in Australia.

Campaigner Philip Nitschke said Goodall started making his way to Switzerland on Wednesday with a flight from Perth to Singapore.

At the airport, Goodall told Australia's ABC television he has long supported allowing people to choose when to die, saying: "I'm sorry that I have to travel to Switzerland in order to execute it." 

"I am 104 years old so I haven't got much time left anyway," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"I might as well not have it (my health) getting worse and worse, making me unhappy as it goes."

Euthanasia is illegal in Australia on a national level, though some of the country's states and territories have passed laws on the practice.

Nitschke led a successful campaign to have euthanasia legalized in Australia's Northern Territory in 1995, but it was outlawed by federal legislation in 1997. Victoria state has passed a bill to allow euthanasia, but it will not come into effect until mid-2019.

A West Australian parliamentary inquiry into the issue is due to submit its recommendations in August.

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