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Kill the pain, not the patient

For immediate release

26 August 2014

Kill the pain, not the patient

The NSW Council of Churches opposes a bill currently before the Senate seeking to legalise euthanasia.

“The NSW Council of Churches had a detailed policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide, and the Council endorsed stronger measures to support palliative care for people diagnosed with terminal illness,” Council President, the Reverend Dr Ross Clifford, said.

There are four reasons why the Council of Churches takes the view that the Greens bill makes for bad law. First, legalising the taking of an innocent human life dishonors God who gave it and irreparably harms the common good.

Second, legalising euthanasia may undermine trust between doctor and patient, as well as the moral integrity of the medical profession.

Third, legislation cannot guarantee protection of vulnerable persons from abuse and coercion. For example, a patient may feel obliged to consent to euthanasia out of convenience to others such as healthy relatives, or taxpayers who fund the public health system.

Fourth, past attempts to legalise euthanasia in Australia have failed for good reasons. They may have been well-intentioned but it is bad law.

“It’s poor form to call the draft legislation the ‘Medical Services (Dying with Dignity) Bill’ when what it actually seeks is freedom from prosecution for medical doctors who intentionally kill their patients,” Dr Clifford said.

“This is not just a matter of individual rights but about the shape of society and community well-being.”

Media contact Rod Benson 0412 421 678

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