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Suicide prevention leader opposes legalizing euthanasia/assisted suicide in Australia

by | Nov 15, 2017

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Warwich Baines, a board member of a suicide prevention charity in Australia, wrote a letter that was published by Central Western Daily on November 12, under the title “Euthanasia bill enables killing of adults.”

Baines writes from a straight forward point of view. He states:

THE euthanasia/assisted suicide legislation currently before parliaments in Victoria and NSW [New South Wales, another state in Australia] are the latest in a long line of attempts to legalise the killing of adults in Australia.

If that sounds jarring that’s because it is.

Irrespective of the euphemism – ‘voluntary assisted dying’ is currently in vogue – what is actually being sought is a dystopian two-tier society: those whose lives we want to preserve and those to whom we are effectively saying ‘you are better off dead’.

Baines then expresses his support for improvements in palliative care, but notes

Yet high quality palliative care does not satisfy advocates. Why? According to the NSW parliamentary working group “the fundamental principle behind the call for legislating to allow for assisted dying is to provide dignity to people who wish to pass peacefully on their own terms.”

Baines then refers to the cultural trends:

In our increasingly individualistic society, emotional appeals to absolute autonomy over our own lives are attractive.

But we are not islands. The choices we make have consequences for others.

It will be the weak – the lonely and the isolated – who will be vulnerable, who will find it difficult to withstand the pressure to relieve others of the burden of their existence.

That is the reality where euthanasia has already been introduced, despite so-called safeguards.

I am a board member of an Orange-based suicide prevention charity that seeks to care for vulnerable people.

Please, let’s not make them even more vulnerable.

See also “Former Australian Prime Minister warns against assisted suicide.”

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Euthanasia