Euthanasia is being pushed again in NSW. There’s a lot more that could be said, but here’s what I’m sending to my local MPs…
1st May 2013
I hope you are well. We pray for our parliamentary representatives regularly at church here.
I understand the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill 2013 will soon be introduced into the Legislative Council of the NSW Parliament as a private members bill, and may also come to your attention in the Legislative Assembly.
I write to reinforce my opposition, and that of many other Christians, to euthanasia.
It is important to remember that with euthanasia, we are not talking about refusing burdensome and futile treatment, nor the administration of appropriate drugs for pain management, such as morphine. Both of those steps are legal and ethical.
Euthanasia refers to the deliberate administration of a drug, intending to cause the death of someone who is suffering. The stark reality is that it is a doctor killing a patient! (Or in the case of physician-assisted suicide, it is a doctor enabling a patient to kill him or herself).
The potential for abuse is horrific. The evidence from places like the Netherlands is of a ‘slippery-slope’, with categories widening beyond the terminally ill, even to those who do not consent, and to disabled infants. Legalizing euthanasia also introduces the potential for subtle but inappropriate pressures to be brought to bear on vulnerable persons, by relatives or an overburdened and underfunded hospital system.
By contrast, the medical evidence is that advances in palliative care have improved the symptom control of patients at the end of life, and where expertly used, suffering is minimal. I urge legislators to put their efforts into funding the improved provision of palliative care.
Legalizing euthanasia privileges individual rights in a way that threatens protection of the rights of the weak and often defenceless. As Christians, we believe God who has a special concern for the vulnerable and so we want our society to protect them.
I hope you will vote against any moves to legalize euthanasia. Thank you for your consideration on this matter.
Canon Sandy Grant
Rector and Senior Canon
St Michael’s Anglican Cathedral, Wollongong