The public is urged to consider carefully claims that euthanasia can be safe, the Australian Christian Lobby warns.
ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the move by NSW politicians to introduce a bill along with the push in Victoria and Tasmania meant that all Australians needed to investigate the truth claims of euthanasia advocates.
Mr Shelton said celebrity advocate Andrew Denton told the National Press Club last year that overseas laws were working fine but a Dutch woman was recently physically restrained while she was killed by euthanasia.
In Belgium, the mentally ill are now routinely receiving euthanasia and in Holland and Belgium there are protocols for killing children by euthanasia.
“Voluntary euthanasia in the low countries of Europe, often held up as a model for Australia, quickly morphed into a regime of suicide on demand for young and old,” Mr Shelton said.
“It is all well and good for Australian advocates to say there is no slippery slope but that’s what they said in Europe when all this started.
“The NSW proposal contains a prohibition on people younger than 25 asking for euthanasia but these sorts of protections were short-lived in other jurisdictions.”
Today a Victorian government taskforce will recommend that death certificates be falsified so that the cause of death is hidden.
“If euthanasia policy cannot be grounded in truth, what other lies will be told to justify life or death decisions if this becomes legal?”
Mr Shelton said the “safeguards” built in to the Northern Territory’s short-lived euthanasia law, under which four people were killed in the 1990s, were breached by leading euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke.
Dr Nitschke even admitted to a Tasmanian Parliamentary inquiry that his breaches of the law were justified because “it was a breach motivated…by compassion” (Hansard p. 112-113).
Mr Shelton said the elderly and vulnerable would be pressured to “do the right thing” and receive euthanasia so that they would no longer be a burden on their family or society.
The University of Calgary has already costed the savings to the Canadian health budget of its new euthanasia laws.
“This debate requires far greater scrutiny by the public and by the media,” Mr Shelton said.
“It also requires a greater focus on modern palliative care which is able to relieve the overwhelming majority of human suffering at end of life.”