New South Wales rejects euthanasia bill while Vermont authorises physician assisted suicide: The Church of England Newspaper, June 2, 2013 p 6. June 6, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Vermont.
Tags: euthanasia, New South Wales
The New South Wales Parliament has rejected a private members bill calling for the legalization of euthanasia. On 23 May the upper house of Parliament, the Legislative Council, voted 23 to 13 to reject the bill backed by the Green Party.
However in the United States, Vermont became the fourth state to legalize euthanasia after Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law the “End of Life Choices” Act which permits physicians to administer a fatal overdose to terminally ill patients who wish to commit suicide.
“This bill does not compel anyone to do anything that they don’t choose in sound mind to do. All it does is give those who are facing terminal illness, are facing excruciating pain, a choice in a very carefully regulated way,” the governor said on 20 May 2013 after he signed the bill.
Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston said this was “a tragic moment for Vermont. It is also a sign of an alarming trend nationwide. In the three states where physician-assisted suicide is now legal, doctors are called upon to destroy life, rather than to save life and provide much-needed comfort in times of pain and distress.”
The Episcopal Church as part of the Vermont Ecumenical Council and Bible Society had opposed the bill the Rt. Rev, Thomas Ely, Bishop of Vermont told The Church of England Newspaper.
In a statement released in December 2011 as the bill was being debated by the legislature, the Council stated their members “seriously doubt, and some reject categorically, that assisted death, whether in suicide, in euthanasia or in capital punishment is an ethically responsible action.”
A 2000 white paper prepared for the Episcopal Church’s 73rd General Convention stated: “The Episcopal Church should continue to oppose physician-assisted suicide near the end-of-life because suicide is never just a private, self-regarding act.”
“It is an act that affects those with whom we are in relation within the community, denying them the sense of meaning and purpose to be derived from caring for us as we die. Moreover, it threatens to erode our trust in physicians, who are pledged to an ethic of healing. Finally, it denies our relationship of love and trust in God and sets us up as gods in the place of God.”