Doctors’ dire warning on euthanasia push

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A German photo illustration shows tools used in euthanasia. Photo: CNS, Norbert Fellechner, www.imago via Reuters

Talks across Sydney will explode the sentimental myths used to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia

Experts including specialist palliative care doctors will give key talks at online meetings across Sydney over the next month on the dangers of legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia, and what people can do in response to the latest push in NSW.

With Independent MP Alex Greenwich set to introduce a draft Bill to parliament, NSW Labor Opposition Leader Chris Minns said he would not support assisted dying and would allow his party a conscience vote on the issue.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has also expressed her opposition, and it is unclear how the Bill would progress as she also gave an assurance following the 2019 abortion debate that there would be no further conscience votes during the current term of parliament, which is due to run for two more years.

“The archbishop said that such laws are ‘diametrically opposed to the spirit that inspires the care Catholic institutions offer”

In a statement, Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher OP warned that attempts to “sugarcoat state-sanctioned killing” of certain citizens and assisting in suicides is a “disastrous move”. The archbishop said that such laws are “diametrically opposed to the spirit that inspires the care Catholic institutions offer”.

Horror at the revelations from the Aged Care Royal Commission and the response to the pandemic showed the principle of the sanctity of life is still widely held, he said.

Archbishop Fisher also warned of the possibility of “bracket creep”.

nurse adjust patient's IV needle.
The legal killing of an ever-widening range of individuals is expanding across Australia.

“Already in Australia’s short experience of this we have found the law applied to far more people than was first expected and there has already been a concerted campaign to relax the supposed ‘safeguards’ that were put in place to sell those laws,” he said.

“Looking overseas we see voluntary assisted suicide laws in some countries, originally applicable on a voluntary basis for dying adults only, gradually extended to those whose condition is not terminal, or not even medical, and to children and the unconscious.”

The Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Australia (CMDFA) is running a petition calling for Premier Berejiklian to oppose the introduction of new laws which would allow euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the state.

” … we see voluntary assisted suicide laws in some countries, originally applicable on a voluntary basis for dying adults only, gradually extended to those whose condition is not terminal, or not even medical …”

National chair Professor John Whitehall told media that the organisation rejects Mr Greenwich’s suggestion that euthanasia and assisted suicide “constitute a form of medical care”.

“The CMDFA agrees with the World Medical Association that the practice of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession,” he said.

Co-hosted by the dioceses of Parramatta and Broken Bay, the series of talks titled “Euthanasia, Dying and the Dignity of the Human Person” will be held via Zoom beginning on Monday 2 August with the vicar General of the Diocese of Broken Bay Fr David Ranson discussing the theology of suffering and death.

“Debunking the Myths” will follow on Monday 9 August. Speakers will include several medical professionals including specialist palliative care doctors who will address myths and concerns about the end of life.

They will explain how palliative care is both misunderstood and underfunded, and when employed effectively, addresses all the concerns of those who advocate for assisted dying.

Monica Doumit, Director, Public Affairs and Engagement for the Archdiocese of Sydney, will explain the best ways to bring up the topic of euthanasia with friends and family on Monday 16 August.

To register for the free online talks go to parracatholic.org/euthanasiatalks by 29 July.

“It isn’t going unnoticed that in the midst of a pandemic when we are being asked to place restrictions on ourselves in order to keep vulnerable people in our society safe, that Mr Greenwich has chosen to spend his lockdown period working to propose a law that would threaten the lives of vulnerable people.”

“It isn’t going unnoticed that in the midst of a pandemic when we are being asked to place restrictions on ourselves in order to keep vulnerable people in our society safe, that Mr Greenwich has chosen to spend his lockdown period working to propose a law that would threaten the lives of vulnerable people,” Ms Doumit told The Catholic Weekly.

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