Queensland to legalize euthanasia

City of Gold Coast, Queensland

Legal euthanasia is getting closer in the Australian state of Queensland. One committee recommended a bill for voluntary assistance in dying (VAD) in the unicameral parliament in a 327-page report. It will be debated in Parliament in September.

Members of the two main parties will be given a rare vote of conscience on this bill.

The parliamentary committee received more than 6,000 submissions from individuals and organizations. Most were in favor, according to the President, Labor MP Aaron Harper, although he acknowledged that “as a democratic society we must respect the fact that some will oppose a voluntary aid scheme. died for various reasons that are important to them. “

Mr. Harper said: “I firmly believe that the issue of assisted dying is above politics and religion, it is about people.

The committee made an important recommendation to the Commonwealth. He said federal law banning suicide counseling should be changed to allow doctors to counsel people living in remote areas on how to access VAD. Queensland is a large and largely empty state and some people will have a hard time seeing doctors face to face.

A controversial question is whether hospitals or nursing homes could be forced to allow distance selling on their premises.

Catholic hospitals have said they will defy the law if necessary. “We will not tolerate unaccredited doctors coming to the scene, nor will we witness the provision of voluntary assistance in dying in any of our establishments,” said the president of the Mater group. the australian.

This is an important detail, as Catholic organizations provide 20% of hospital and elderly care beds in Queensland.

“Allowing unaccredited physicians to enter hospital rooms, without notice or permission, to attend a medical procedure intended to assist a patient in dying is a drastic and dangerous breach of patient safety and should be rejected. “said the CEO of St Vincent’s Health Australia. . “This is part of the reason why the Queensland Australian Medical Association is so strongly opposed to the lack of protection for faith-based hospital providers.

“It’s also a question of fairness. The Queensland government is forcing Catholic hospital providers – against our values ​​and beliefs – to open our facilities to assisted dying. It is deeply disturbing and shocking to us.

Michel cook is editor of BioEdge

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