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Pages tagged "palliative care"
ACL's David Hutt debates euthanasia at Politics in the Pub, Gosford
· July 10, 2014 10:00 AM
Last Thursday night, ACL's New South Wales director David Hutt participated in a debate about euthanasia at a
Politics in the Pub
event in Gosford.
The other speaker on the night advocating for euthanasia was Shayne Higson, the lead candidate and convenor for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party (VEP), and a contestant in the next state election in March 2015.
Mr Hutt made the case against legalising voluntary euthanasia on the basis that it puts at risk the lives of society's most vulnerable - the elderly, the lonely, the sick, and the depressed.
"Euthanasia sends the message that some lives are no longer worth living, based on a subjective standard of ‘quality of life’. It tacitly encourages patients to seek death as a way out, rather than caring for them as valuable members of society," he said.
“the compassionate answer to suffering is to recognise a person’s inherent dignity regardless of their physical capacity or their mental abilities or health, and to strive to provide the best possible care for those with disabilities or at the end of their lives," he said.
He argued that crafting a euthanasia bill that provides adequate safeguards for the vulnerable and marginalised in society is impossible and that for this reason, euthanasia – for nearly two decades now – is consistently voted down in Australian parliaments.
Mr Hutt said there are three major concerns with legalising euthanasia elder abuse, creating a culture of death and the hampering of the doctor-patient relationship.
Elder abuse can come in the form of pressure, real or imagined, to die when an elderly person feels they have become a burden on loved ones. Even if most people withstand any perceived pressure, a culture accepting of a medical profession which will, at times, assist the death of its patients will inevitably create this pressure.
Euthanasia creates a culture of death by undermining the inherent dignity of human beings. Legalising euthanasia may not result in a sudden increase in suicide, but it would affirm that suicide is a legitimate way of dealing with pain.
The doctor-patient relationship is hampered because the ethical obligation of doctors is to preserve the life of their patients; you go to a doctor to get better, not to be killed.
As an alternative to euthanasia, Mr Hutt advocated for facilitating and encouraging the improvement in palliative care.
"In most cases, pain can be treated. The concept of “intolerable pain” is rarely experienced in practice if good palliative care is applied," he said.
Mr Hutt said it was great to see people taking an interest in such an important issue, which created some lively discussion amongst attendees.
Belgium's euthanasia laws
· February 18, 2014 11:00 AM
Dr Megan Best is a bioethicist and palliative care doctor. She spoke to the ACL's Katherine Spackman about the Belgium government passing laws giving terminally ill children access to euthanasia.
Tasmanian lower house rejects voluntary euthanasia bill - again
· October 22, 2013 11:00 AM
Last Thursday, the Tasmanian lower house rejected a bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia in the state.
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, co-sponsored by Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim, was defeated 13 votes to 11.
Labor House of Assembly Members Michael Polley, Brian Wightman and Brenton Best joined the ten Liberals and voted against the legislation.
This is a great win for the dignity of human life, given the campaigning of euthanasia supporters in the week leading up to the debate, particularly on the part of right-to-die advocate Philip Nitschke.
Last month the Prime Minister Tony Abbott was asked about the legislation
and said he would prefer to keep to the status quo. He acknowledged the current practice between doctors and patients where pain relief is often administered which may, as a secondary effect, shorten life. This is not euthanasia because there is no intention to kill – its firstly focused on the comfort, symptom management and pain relief of the patient. Euthanasia and assisted suicide is the deliberate killing of someone by action or omission.
The Tasmanian government should be focussed on improving palliative care services.
Thank you to all of you who've been working, praying, and corresponding with MPs over this important issue. Your dedication to and support of the most vulnerable in our society does not go unnoticed.
If you're a Tasmanian resident, please take a few minutes to send a quick email to the MPs who opposed the legislation to thank them for their stand against this potentially dangerous bill.
For many years, parliaments across Australia have repeatedly rejected legalised voluntary euthanasia - South Australia in 2009, 2010 and 2012, Victoria in 2008, and Western Australian in 2010.
The last time euthanasia was debated in the Tasmanian Parliament was in 2009 when Greens MP Nick McKim’s Dying with Dignity Bill was resoundingly rejected 15 votes to 7.
ACL ran a
'Make a Stand' campaign
against the legislation in the lead up to its debate.
Euthanasia on the election agenda of some parties
· August 22, 2013 10:00 AM
In any election campaign euthanasia is usually an issue under debate just outside the main campaign of the major parties.
ACL has long advocated
for valuing human life in a caring society and for the improvement of palliative care services. Legalising euthanasia is a unjust means of putting the onus on vulnerable people to prematurely end their lives.
The Australian Greens last week announced they will introduce legislation in the next parliament to legalise euthanasia. The following day, controversial euthanasia advocate Dr Phillip Nitschke argued in
The Canberra Times
that euthanasia should be considered on the basis of economics; that granting older Australians the right to end their life would help relieve the health budget. Dr Nitschke is the co-founder of the new Voluntary Euthanasia Party and is standing as a candidate for the ACT Senate in the forthcoming election. The party's preferences will flow to the Greens.
The Greens' spokesman for health Senator Richard Di Natale said the party would base their euthanasia policy on a bill by its NSW Senate candidate Cate Faehrmann. Ms Faehrmann's bill was defeated 13 votes to 23 in the New South Wales upper house earlier this year when she was a member of that house.
ACL welcomed this defeat
In light of these recent comments, director of anti-euthanasia group HOPE
Paul Russell published an opinion piece
questioning the validity of the arguments put forth by the Greens and Dr Nitschke, including apparent safeguards to the initiative. These questions have become increasingly relevant as the federal election draws near, and as the parties deal with this issue.
Parliaments across Australia have repeatedly rejected legalised euthanasia; South Australia in 2009, 2010 and 2012, Tasmania in 2009, Victoria in 2008, and Western Australia in 2010. Throughout the debate, the ACL has run campaigns encouraging people to make a stand against legalising euthanasia by contacting their local MPs.
Dr Megan Best, a bioethicist and palliative care specialist, will be one of the panel guests in ACL's
Make it Count 2013 Election Panel
webcast on Monday 2nd September. Author of the book
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
, her primary research interest lies in spirituality and suffering at the end of life.
Dr Yvonne Luxford on Political Spot about Palliative Care Australia's election statement
· August 20, 2013 10:00 AM
Dr Yvonne Luxford is the CEO of Palliative Care Australian. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman she discusses Palliative Care Australia's election statement. Click on button below or
to listen to interview.
CPX interviews Dr Megan Best about the ethics of reproductive medicine
· June 24, 2013 10:00 AM
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Part I
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Part II
Dr Megan Best recently spoke to Justine Toh at the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX) about her book,
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.
Dr Best is a bio-ethicist and a palliative care doctor. Her book examines the ethics of reproductive medicine from a Christian perspective.
Watch parts 1 and 2 of the interview above.
Alternatively, watch them on the
ACL welcomes recommendations in Qld palliative care report
· May 30, 2013 10:00 AM
Benjamin Franklin spoke of the inevitability of death with his famous words, "The only things certain in life are death and taxes." However unpalatable the prospect is, every one of us will die. The late Steve Jobs said, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.”
The traditional view of western civilisation upholds the belief that every human life has inherent dignity which does not depend on one’s circumstances. This inherent worth of a person’s existence does not cease because they do not have long to live, or are depressed, or in pain. In recognition of this, on 17 May, the Queensland Government Health and Community Services Committee, with members from both major parties and Independents, tabled a report “Palliative and community care in Qld: toward person-centred care” which recommends a shift to more person-centred care for people with a terminal condition. Other recommendations include a 24 hour state-wide palliative care telephone service; providing for a children’s hospice in Queensland; Medicare benefits for GP palliative care; a national public awareness campaign; promotion of advance care planning; the use of videoconferencing for care; supporting carers better; better use of volunteers; and improving service adequacy, effectiveness and efficiency that is needs-based and person-centred.
ACL applauds the Queensland LNP, ALP and Independent MPs who have put forward these recommendations and calls upon other states to follow its lead to fund and improve palliative care and put a stop to the endless calls for euthanasia from the Greens and Exit International founder, Phillip Nitschke.
On Thursday, 23rd May 2013 the ACL welcomed the defeat of the NSW Greens’ euthanasia bill in the New South Wales Legislative Council. This bill was defeated 23 votes to 13. The Tasmanian Government is also likely to be debating euthanasia this year. ACL urges them to follow the Queensland move and focus its efforts toward improving palliative care not legalising euthanasia.
State parliaments have repeatedly rejected legislating physician assisted euthanasia because of the inability to construct a law which prevents abuse and exploitation of the vulnerable. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said that it is probably not possible to design a law with adequate safeguards. Euthanasia is fundamentally unsafe. Where euthanasia has been legalised around the world, these laws have led to tragic abuses. Actually, euthanasia turns the law on its head as our laws are meant to protect and preserve life. Our Doctors, as healthcare providers, are expected to protect and promote life, not end life or encourage the ending of life.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion in the language around euthanasia. Take for instance the phrase “dying with dignity”. It contains the latent assumption that it is not possible to die with dignity unless euthanasia is on the table. It is no surprise that surveys which ask: Do you believe people in terrible pain should have access to euthanasia? achieve high levels of support in the community. But the active intervention of a doctor with a lethal substance is entirely different to the compassionate act of relieving a patient’s pain, even if the onset of death is hastened. Turning off a life support machine is not euthanasia nor is acceding to the wishes of a patient to refuse life-prolonging treatment.
The future funding of palliative care can have no relationship to euthanasia and assisted-suicide. Euthanasia is not an antidote or an appeasement to the reality of death. Palliative care and euthanasia are diametrically opposed. One is providing care for the living as they die and the other is making the living die.
The Queensland Government is required to give a response to the committee recommendations in three months. The report is available at:
Please take the time to email the committee
and thank them for recognising the value and sanctity of every human life. Also contact your local MP and urge them to support the recommendations.
MR: Belgian euthanasia deaths a warning to Tasmanian legislators
· January 15, 2013 11:00 AM
For release: Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
The sad case of the death of the Belgian Verbassem twins should sound warning bells to Tasmanian legislators likely to be debating euthanasia again this year, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
The deaf twins chose to be killed by legal euthanasia after learning that they were going blind, saying they’d have “nothing to live for” should they be kept alive.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said their unfortunate deaths highlight the “slippery slope” experienced by the handful of countries that have legislated state-sanctioned killing.
“Where do you draw the line when what is termed “unbearable pain” is so arbitrary? Taking two years for the twins to find a doctor willing to perform euthanasia points to the fact that there were plenty of medical practitioners uncomfortable with the idea,” Mr Brown said.
Current Belgian law allows euthanasia if a patient is able to make their wishes clear and a doctor deems their condition unbearable. The Belgian government is now looking at amending legislation to also allow euthanasia of children and Alzheimer’s suffers.
“We see the same problem in the Netherlands where in a survey of 800 doctors, 20% agreed they would be willing to euthanize a patient who was “tired of living”.
“We urge the Tasmanian Government to focus its efforts toward improving palliative care not legalising euthanasia, which has been rejected time and again by fully constituted parliaments and parliamentary inquires around Australia,” Mr Brown said.
MR: Greens’ latest attempt to legislate for euthanasia should be rejected
· November 18, 2012 11:00 AM
For release: Monday, November 19, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has called on Parliamentarians to reject the Greens’ latest attempt to legislate for euthanasia.
ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said the Greens strategy is legislation by fatigue, ignoring that State and Federal Governments have refused at least four attempts to legalise euthanasia in recent years, in each case after detailed examination of the issue.
“Parliamentary inquiry after Parliamentary inquiry has found that euthanasia cannot be made safe for vulnerable people who might be pressured into prematurely ending their lives. Nothing has changed to refute this evidence yet the Greens keep coming back.
Mr Wallace said that legalised euthanasia is an unjust and callous way of putting the onus on vulnerable people to end their lives.
“Feelings of social isolation and depression and of feeling a burden to others are common in those suffering with terminal illness, and euthanasia puts unacceptable pressure on them when they’re in this vulnerable state.
“No amount of checks and balances by lawmakers could ensure people are not pressured because of their state of mind, or even because they are elderly and feel a burden to society,” Mr Wallace said.
Managing pain relief which might also hasten death is not euthanasia, as proponents suggest, and this is used to cause confusion in the minds of the public, Mr Wallace said.
“The active intervention of a doctor with a lethal substance in euthanasia is vastly different from prescribing the type of pain relief that may incidentally hasten a person’s death.
“Instead of revisiting a flawed and dangerous experiment with euthanasia, we encourage governments to continue investing in modern palliative care services,” Mr Wallace said.
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