New laws 'a deeply troubling chapter' in health care

An example of the locked box that euthanasia medications will be delivered to terminally-ill patients in Victoria (ABC News)

Victoria’s new euthanasia laws come into effect on Wednesday but the community is still divided about the morality of the new laws. Source: Ballarat Courier.

After an 18-month implementation period, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act gives terminally-ill patients the right to request to choose the timing and manner of their deaths, subject to a raft of strict conditions. The state Government expects about 150 Victorians will apply to use the laws each year.

The Church has restated its opposition to the laws in a pastoral letter signed by the bishops of Victoria – Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli, Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird, Sale Bishop Patrick O’Regan and Sandhurst Bishop Leslie Tomlinson.

They described the voluntary assisted dying legislation as “a new, and deeply troubling chapter of health care in Victoria”.

“As pastors of the Catholic dioceses of Melbourne, Ballarat, Sale and Sandhurst, we feel a responsibility not just to say ‘no’ to VAD, but to give every encouragement to model a way of life that renders VAD unnecessary.”

They said Catholic hospitals and residential care organisations had united to find ways to model excellent care for patients, and were committed to resisting calls to become involved in VAD.

“We object to the unnecessary taking of a human life; we object to the diminishment of the love that can be given and received in the last days of our loved ones; we object to the lack of adequate funding for excellent palliative care; we object to state-sponsored practices that facilitate suicide; and most of all we object to the lazy idea that the best response our community can offer a person in acute suffering is to end their life.”

Premier Daniel Andrews said Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying model was the safest and most conservative in the world.

FULL STORY

Division remains over Victoria’s new voluntary assisted dying laws (Ballarat Courier)

A Pastoral Letter to the People, Clergy and Religious Catholic communities in Victoria Dioceses of Melbourne, Ballarat, Sale and Sandhurst (Melbourne Catholic)

RELATED COVERAGE

D Day - June 19, 2019 - Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 begins operation (News Weekly)

Euphemistic ‘voluntary assisted dying’ undermines the meaning of medicine (The Australian)

Voluntary euthanasia to begin in Victoria as assisted dying laws take effect this week (ABC News)

Mother opts to take part in Vic euthanasia (SBS News)

Philip Nitschke expects states to act on dying (The Australian

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