Australian pro-lifers are preparing to hold a March for Life to rally against euthanasia and assisted suicide. Queensland soon intends to opens up parliamentary debate on a proposed law that would legalize voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in the state. According to Catholic News Agency, the rally is being organized by the group Cherish Life Queensland and will be held in Brisbane on Saturday, September 11.
Queensland MPs are soon scheduled to consider legislation that would allow anyone over the age of 18 to seek assisted suicide if they have been given a terminal diagnosis with the expectation that they have less than 12 months to live and are enduring “intolerable” suffering. Teeshan Johnson of Cherish Life Queensland said that she is particularly worried that the bill lacks adequate conscience protections for doctors who are opposed to assisted suicide.
“The proposed law’s compulsion on faith-affiliated hospitals, nursing homes and hospices which are opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide to allow these acts to take place on their premises is totalitarian,” she said. “This would do far-reaching and irreparable damage to the already struggling Queensland Health system, as some of these providers, which account for around one in four beds in Queensland, may be forced to close facilities and there would be reluctance to open new facilities.”
According to Catholic News Agency, various groups have spoken out in opposition to Queensland’s proposed law, including a group of 20 prominent physicians who wrote a letter warning that legalizing assisted suicide would result in “unacceptable risks.” Additionally, the state’s Catholic bishops have been vocal in advocating for better palliative care rather than assisted suicide.
“The sanctity of life is not about doing everything possible to stay alive for as long as possible regardless of whether there is any real benefit or regardless of how severe the burden may be for the individual, their family, or society. Rather, the sanctity of life is about recognising that all life, all of creation is sacred because it is the foundation, the necessary condition of all meaningful and purposeful endeavour,” the bishops wrote.
Terminal illnesses are often used as an excuse by assisted suicide advocates to help such laws advance. However, the label of terminal is often not as straightforward as it sounds. Some conditions are considered terminal — but only without treatment. Jeanette Hall was 55 when she was told she had inoperable colon cancer and had just six months to live. She qualified for assisted suicide but her doctor said that she was only terminal because she refused treatment. He convinced her to undergo treatments and 20 years later she was still cancer-free.
Throughout Australia, legislation that legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide (often known as voluntary assisted dying) is continuing to gain traction. In July, the state of Western Australia legalized the practice, following in the footsteps of the state of Victoria, which became the first state to allow assisted suicide in 2019. New South Wales is also considering similar laws, while The Conversation reports that Tasmania and South Australia are preparing to enact their own VAD laws.
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