Media Release

Ignorance fuels calls for assisted suicide to be extended to 16 year olds

The Australian Christian Lobby said today that the call by ex-politician Marshall Peron (by reference to an ACT government discussion paper) for the ACT to include under 18 year olds in any assisted suicide legislation is based on ignorance.

Rob Norman, the ACT Director for the Australian Christian Lobby said,

“Science understands that most adolescents even around 18 years old have not achieved brain maturation. A recent article in the journal Pediatrics concluded, ‘Most adolescents younger than the legal age of majority (18-21 years of age) have not yet attained a level of brain maturation that justifies treating them like adults with respect to significant, potentially life-altering health care decisions.’

“Marshall Peron’s call shows that neither he nor the authors of the discussion paper understand the development of the adolescent brain,” Mr Norman continued. “On no account should immature adolescents be permitted to access assisted suicide.”  

The ACL also opposed the call to extend assisted suicide to those who are not terminally ill.

“This call reflects a one-dimensional view of life – that it is only valuable when life is easy,” Mr Norman said. “The real value of life and our humanity comes in the extremities. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, ‘He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.’

“As a society we should be encouraging each member to find the why of their lives, not encouraging them to suicide.”

The ACL calls on the ACT Parliament to act with principle and not follow lemming-like in the path of assisted suicide.  


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