For immediate release
8 May 2013
The NSW Council of Churches today called on all members of the NSW Legislative Council to vote against a private member’s bill that would legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide in NSW.
“This is a dangerous bill. If enacted, the bill will redefine the value of the lives of some people as not worth living. Our challenge as a society is to transform the experience of people who are disabled or dying, not to intervene to end their lives,” the President of the NSW Council of Churches, the Reverend Dr Ross Clifford, said.
“For Christians, the Bible makes it clear that human life and human dignity must be protected. We already have good laws and policies that support compassionate care of the terminally ill. If the system is not broken, don’t try to fix it,” Dr Clifford said.
“Advances in palliative care make assisted death unnecessary. Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on reviews of every death by euthanasia, the NSW Government should improve resources for palliative care so that terminally ill patients in our community receive the care and comfort they deserve at the end of life to minimize suffering.”
“This bill will enshrine the right to kill and be killed in NSW law. It will endanger disabled people who cannot speak for themselves, and who may be seen as an unnecessary burden by their family or the state. We cannot be sure the proposed law will never be extended to include incapacitated patients.
The legal right to kill patients does nothing to enhance human dignity, yet this bill makes medical homicide legal. Should we dismiss concerns of doctors who say, ‘This is not what we became doctors to do’? I urge all NSW politicians to vote against the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill 2013,” Dr Clifford said.
Media contact Rod Benson 0412 421 678
As someone who has had an integral part in developing palliative systems in the Southern Highlands I welcome this statement and hope that NSW legislators see the sense in the case for improvements in the Palliative process which preserves the dignity of those who are dying. Let us continue to protect our society’s most vulnerable members. Thank you to Ross, Rod and all involved with the NSW Council of Churches.