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Bishops’ MPs plea: spare the suffering
19 May, 2013
NSW Catholic Bishops have called on State parliamentarians to reject moves to allow doctors to administer lethal drugs to the terminally ill, saying legal euthanasia would bring pressure to bear upon vulnerable people to ‘volunteer’ for early death.
Last week Greens MP Cate Faehrmann introduced the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill 2013 which would legalise euthanasia in NSW.
In a letter signed by the Archbishop of Sydney, George Cardinal Pell, on behalf of the NSW bishops, the Euthanasia Bill is described as “unsafe and unnecessary”.
“Despite talk of ‘dignified death’, dignity is not served by telling the old and dying, through our laws, that they would be better off dead and we would also be better off if they were dead,” it said.
“Rather, they need reassurance that whatever their state of health or personal difficulties, they are loved and will be supported.
“Despite talk of ‘compassionate death’, compassion is not expressed by killing those who are suffering.
“True compassion should drive us to do all we can to address people’s pain, loneliness or fear.
“No one could pretend that everyone who needs palliative care now receives it.”
The bishops said suicide rates are “too high already” in this state.
“Despite talk of ‘patient autonomy’, legal euthanasia would bring pressure to bear upon vulnerable people to ‘volunteer’ for early death,” they said.
“Overseas experience shows that others will be involuntarily euthanased once a country goes down the euthanasia path.
“There can be no guarantees that patients are not being pressured by others or made feel a burden and unwanted.
“Depressed and vulnerable people would be more so under such laws.
“The Bishops of NSW are convinced that we can find more positive ways of dealing with terminal illness and other suffering than offering lethal injections to already vulnerable people,” the letter added.