Voluntary assisted dying has become available in NSW but some residents may struggle to access the service.
The new laws, which came into force on November 28, mean patients expected to die within six months could ask for medical assistance to end their lives.
The process requires sign-off from two doctors who have completed voluntary assisted dying training.
For Wagga Wagga's Geoff Burch, the changes are bittersweet.
The long-time euthanasia advocate lost his wife Suzanne in 2021 to cancer. He said she died in needless pain.
"It was very painful and distressing in the end. She should have had the choice to say 'I want to end it today, in this way, surrounded by family'," he said.
"It's never made any sense to me, this concept there's value in suffering, some kind of righteousness or dignity.
"It's undignified, it's cruel, it's inhumane and as humans I think we're better than that."
Legal but inaccessible
Like abortion in NSW, medical practitioners are allowed to "conscientiously object" to voluntary assisted dying.
Although the legislation requires patients to be referred to someone willing to offer the service, this presents challenges in regional and remote communities.
The challenges of finding a doctor willing to perform an abortion in the regional NSW town of Wagga Wagga have been well documented over a long period of time.
A lack of local doctors willing to perform the procedure, largely because of religious objections, has forced women to drive to Canberra or Albury to terminate a pregnancy.
The public health department, Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), declined to say whether the voluntary assisted dying service would be available in Wagga.
A spokesperson for the private Catholic Calvary Hospital said they would not provide voluntary assisted dying.
"Calvary Health Care specialises in providing quality palliative care at the end of life," the spokesperson said.
Mr Burch, whose wife received palliative care at Calvary, said it was an excellent and important service but no substitute for dying with dignity.
"My wife appreciated palliative care - it was at Calvary, and it was excellent. The people were really good, but it got to the stage she had all sorts of painkillers going through her all the time and she was still in pain," he said.
"Myself and my children would show up every day just to watch her suffering, and that could have been avoided.
"She would have liked the choice to say how she was going to go - there was no pleasure in those final days."
Hundreds of doctors across the state have already registered for training to provide voluntary assisted dying, with more than 100 already authorised.
But "opt in" processes have been found to slow the uptake of new procedures and techniques in the medical system.
A similar system for medical abortion saw only 10 per cent of GPs and 16 per cent of pharmacists register to provide the necessary medication in 2020.
A recent Senate inquiry found this resulted in large parts of rural, regional and remote Australia where people were unable to access reproductive healthcare.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) responded to these findings by lifting the need for additional registration for pharmacists and other medical practitioners, in an attempt to improve access in areas like Wagga.
Mr Burch said he didn't want to see the same access barriers for voluntary assisted dying.
"I've got no doubt there will be resistance against what is a legal right. It's still there for women wanting to have abortions," he said.
"I really think public hospitals should provide that service - it would negate the negativity or pressure ... I'm sure there's pressure from local doctor groups to comply with certain standards and certain beliefs.
"You should be able to walk into any public hospital and know you're going to get the service, so I'm a bit disappointed the government hasn't been more proactive in that way."