Sydney churches lobby parliament to defeat euthanasia bill: The Church of England Newspaper, May 19, 2013 p 6. May 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Abortion/Euthanasia/Biotechnology, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Dying with Dignity, euthanasia, NSW Council of Churches, Peter Jensen, The Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill
Church leaders in New South Wales called for the rejection of a private members bill that would legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide, urging parliament to support palliative care.
“This is a dangerous bill. If enacted, the bill will redefine the value of the lives of some people as not worth living. Our challenge as a society is to transform the experience of people who are disabled or dying, not to intervene to end their lives,” the President of the NSW Council of Churches, Dr Ross Clifford, said on 8 May 2013.
Greens Party MLC Cate Faehrmann on 2 May 2013 presented “The Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill” to the NSW Legislative Council for debate. Supporters stated the bill would ensure that a patient who has a terminal illness and who is experiencing unacceptable pain or suffering can lawfully receive assistance to end their life if that is their wish.
The bill states that to receive assistance to kill themselves a patient must be: at least 18 years old, be suffering from a terminal illness that is causing severe pain or distress unacceptable to the patient, be fully mentally capable and able to make informed decisions, be a resident of NSW, and have received counseling on other options, including palliative care.
NSW President of Dying with Dignity, Richard Mills said “This legislation provides for people who are suffering terribly and with no prospects for recovery the choice to determine when their life should end,” he said, adding the bill reflected “community attitudes” toward euthanasia.
“Advances in palliative care make assisted death unnecessary. Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on reviews of every death by euthanasia, the NSW Government should improve resources for palliative care so that terminally ill patients in our community receive the care and comfort they deserve at the end of life to minimize suffering,” Dr. Clifford countered.
In his 2010 Synod address the Archbishop of Sydney Dr. Peter Jensen said: “My fundamental problem with [euthanasia] is that we are sinners and we do not have the moral capacity to administer it. It is the myth of so-called voluntary euthanasia. At a moment in time of adversity and suffering we ask people to make up their minds about termination of a life. We cannot – we can never – know what is going through the mind of the sufferer or of those whose lives will be changed by the death of the patient.”
Dr Jensen said the assertion that autonomy was the paramount moral value was a”boldly sectarian and secularist assertion. It is based on the denial of original sin and it leads to a denial of the full humanity of others, since it asks us to be self-centred.”
“It really says that no matter how many cultures there are in modern Australia, the only culture which can be trusted to provide moral guidance is the culture of unbelief. And this is the horrifying culture of individualism, the culture, the cult rather, which is bleeding our society dry of compassion and friendship.” Dr Jensen said.