Take the opportunity to act now on euthanasia, says Archbishop

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Sydney MP Alex Greenwich speaks during Question Time at the New South Wales Parliament on October 12, 2021. The referral of Mr. Greenwich’s bill to legalize euthanasia to a parliamentary committee is not a delay. Photo: AAP image pool / Dominic Lorrimer

Archbishop Fisher OP promotes committee questionnaire

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP calls on Catholics to join him in urgently opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide in New South Wales.

A race to establish state-sanctioned killings is underway in the state, with debate set to begin in November in the Lower House just a month after independent Alex Greenwich introduced his aid bill to voluntary death in the Parliament of New South Wales on October 14.

Submissions for a parliamentary inquiry into the bill via a simple online questionnaire on the New South Wales Parliament website close on 22 November. The questionnaire for the inquiry into the provisions of the draft law on voluntary assistance in dying can be found at parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries.

The Upper House committee will also hold four days of public hearings in December and is expected to report in February.

“Please take the time to make your voice heard. The lives of vulnerable people depend on it. – Archbishop Fisher OP

At less than four months, New South Wales faces a considerably shorter deadline than similar bills in other states, with the Western Australia survey being the shortest, at 12 months longer 15 days of public hearings.

Archbishop Fisher made the urgent appeal this week, asking supporters to take a few moments to have their voices heard on the proposed laws by filling out a brief online form offered by the Upper House inquiry.

“I strongly oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide because we should not be telling patients by our laws that we think they would be better off dead or that we would be better off if they were dead,” wrote the archbishop in a statement.

“It is very important that you make your opposition to this bill known. “

The Archbishop said that as the widespread nature of elder abuse and rising suicide rates come to light, “we have more reason to be especially careful before introducing the idea of ​​killing heavy people or “volunteering” for premature death “.

Former NSW Deputy Premier John Watkins gives an interview to Catholic Weekly in 2019. Now CHS chairman Mr Watkins called on NSW MPs to better understand the decisive role of palliative care in the debate on euthanasia looming in state parliament.  Photo: Alphonse Fok
Former NSW Deputy Premier John Watkins pictured speaking with The Catholic Weekly in 2019. Now chairman of the CHA, Mr Watkins called on NSW MPs to better understand the pivotal role of palliative care in the debate on euthanasia looming in the State Parliament. Photo: Alphonse Fok

“A just and compassionate society can surely find more respectful and loving ways to deal with suffering at the end of life than to kill the sufferer,” he wrote.

“Please take the time to make your voice heard. The lives of vulnerable people depend on it.

Monica Doumit, director of public affairs and engagement for the Archdiocese of Sydney, said Catholics in the state used to rally in large numbers to defend and protect human life, especially members the most vulnerable in the community.

Catholics had come out overwhelmingly in similar submission processes to oppose abortion laws and support religious freedom, she said.

“Past experience shows that this is what we are good at,” she said. “We have to make sure we stand up again for what we believe and know to be right, because this issue is crucial and is literally a matter of life and death.”

Q&A with Fr. John Flader: Euthanasia and Compassion

Branka van der Linden, director of the anti-euthanasia and assisted suicide organization Hope, said international experience has shown that when these laws are introduced, so-called safeguards erode over time. .

“Less than two years after the Victorian Assisted Suicide Act came into effect, Victorian MPs and advocates of euthanasia were already fighting to remove the so-called ‘safeguards’,” she said. .

Archbishop Fisher, who is also an internationally renowned bioethicist, urges everyone to be educated on the matter and to reflect on the issues if NSW embarks on the path of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide, particularly with a “very radical” bill that offers few real protections.

“This question is crucial and is literally a question of life and death.” – Monique Doumit

He says one of the effects will be a greater disparity between those with more resources to access better health care and comprehensive palliative care, and others, especially in rural and remote areas and in west of Sydney, who will have fewer options except that of premature death.

“The fact that other states in Australia have taken this route is not a reason why NSW should follow suit,” the Archbishop said.

“Any initiative aimed at enabling people to end their lives prematurely has serious consequences for our society and must be fought. “

The Catholic health sector has spoken out strongly against the bill in New South Wales. Catholic Health Australia is partnering with Catholic Healthcare, St Vincent’s Health Australia and St Vincent’s Hospital Lismore, in an anti-euthanasia campaign titled “There is another option” for parliament to vote against the bill and increase funding for palliative care for the provision of comprehensive services and compassionate care to terminally ill patients.

Submit to nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries

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