NRL News

Australia: Euthanasia lobby is attempting to legalize euthanasia on two fronts

by | Jul 30, 2011

Editor’s note. This appears on the blog of Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

I just learned the euthanasia bill that is sponsored by Steph Key passed 2nd reading today in the South Australian lower house. This is shocking considering the wide-open language of the bill.

My analysis of the South Australian euthanasia bill from last March concluded that:

“The South Australian parliament needs to kill the bill. The bill gives physicians near absolute power to directly and intentionally cause the death of their patients. The bill steers people with disabilities and others who live with chronic conditions to euthanasia. These are the people who the current law protects from those who believe that the lives of some people are not worth living.

The bill must be seen for what it is. It is a law that is designed to impose death on the most vulnerable in society. The bill is not concerned with the veneer of choice or autonomy because it is designed to give the power over life and death to physicians. This bill will turn healers into killers and it will redefine the nature of medical care in South Australia. The bill is a travesty of justice.”

Read my analysis of the South Australian bill.

The South Australian bill had significant momentum last March until Philip Nitschke, Australia’s Dr. Death, announced that he was planning to open a euthanasia clinic in Adelaide South Australia to take advantage of the wide-open language of the Steph Key bill.

Today’s vote [Thursday] came forward without the public being informed probably as another political manoeuvre as the South Australian politicians attempt to legalize euthanasia before their citizens know what happened.

Paul Russell, the director of HOPE in Australia, stated that this bill is being touted as an end-of-life decisions act and not a euthanasia bill. Russell stated:

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the bill is being touted by its supporters as simply a protection for doctors if they removed burdensome treatment or if they raised the pain medication to relieve suffering and the patient died a little earlier than expected as a result; what is commonly known as the double effect where the intention is to relieve pain and/or to provide comfort at the very end, which would not be euthanasia. In fact, it is already covered extensively and well under the Consent to treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995 in SA. … In short, doctors already enjoy such protection. Some MPs simply don’t get the distinction.”

Link to Paul Russell’s blog comment.

After re-reading the South Australia bill I can assure you that it is a euthanasia bill.

At the same time the Australian federal parliament is facing a bill that is being sponsored by Greens leader Bob Brown, to give power to the Territories that would enable the Northern Territory to once again legalize euthanasia.

Australia’s Northern Territory legalized euthanasia in 1995. The Australian federal government overturned that law in 1997. The bill that Bob Brown is proposing would allow the Northern Territory to legalize euthanasia once more.

Paul Russell gave a fabulous talk at the Third International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide concerning the victories that HOPE was able to achieve. Russell, who is the Vice Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – International is facing the battle of his life if he is to maintain the legal protection for everyone in Australia from having euthanasia imposed on them.

Categories: Euthanasia