MP and ethicist agree to euthanasia debate

 Trevor Khan and Margaret Somerville (Wikimedia/The Southern Cross)

The author of a bill to legalise assisted dying in NSW will debate Australia’s leading anti-euthanasia ethicist later this month, The Catholic Weekly reports.

Trevor Khan MLC, whose Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill may be debated in NSW parliament as early as November 16, will appear with Professor Margaret Somerville at "Rules of engagement: from culture war to reasonable disagreement – a conversation on euthanasia" on November 20.

The Nationals MP introduced his bill in September, giving an impassioned speech in the Legislative Council about the suffering and death of his father.

Debate had been delayed while MPs were waiting to see the result of a Victorian bill, which passed that state’s Upper House – 22 votes to 18 – on November 3, with a debate about amendments scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

“Mr President, for me and for others in this place and for so many in our community this is deeply personal,” Mr Khan told the Legislative Council in September.

“Too many of us have watched or cared for a loved one with a debilitating illness and seen them die a horrible and undignified death.”

Professor Somerville spent decades debating many vexed bioethical issues – including euthanasia – in Canada before returning to Australia last year to teach at the University of Notre Dame.

Writing for the ABC’s Religion and Ethics website last month, she warned of the ethical dangers flowing from a “false certainty” shored-up by individual stories.

“Pro-euthanasia advocates are very reluctant to admit that euthanasia has resulted in ‘slippery slopes’ – the extension of access to euthanasia or its abuse if legalised – in the Netherlands and Belgium, but proclaim their certainty, if that is correct, it will not occur in Australia, because ‘we are different’."

The ACU debate will be moderated by Professor Hayden Ramsay and will take place at The Peter Cosgrove Centre in North Sydney, beginning at 6.30pm.


Euthanasia bill author to debate leading ethicist (The Catholic Weekly)

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