The Victorian Greens have attacked the Church for its campaign against euthanasia, urging the Andrews government to review funding of Catholic hospitals if clinicians are banned from providing assisted suicide, The Australian reports.
Greens health spokeswoman Colleen Hartland criticised St Vincent’s Health Australia for promising to ban euthanasia at its Victorian health centres if the practice were legalised. She said it was part of an “appalling” campaign by the Catholic Church against the reform, accusing it of wanting to “condemn people to pain”.
St Vincent’s Health Australia does not provide abortions at its hospitals and promised this week that it would conscientiously object to assisted suicide.
“We do have to question hospitals that take funding and then won’t provide legally sanctioned medical procedures,” Ms Hartland said.
“You are either going to take public funding and do medical procedures that are legal or you don’t take the funding — make the choice about what it is you want."
Ms Hartland said she was a lapsed Catholic but the religion’s compassionate ideals played a role in her political philosophy. She slammed the Church hierarchy for lacking compassion.
“I was raised on compassion and love as a Catholic and they want to condemn people to pain,” she said. “I haven’t been a practising Catholic for a long time but I would say my Catholicism has informed a lot of my politics around compassion and love, but the current hierarchy don’t seem to understand those things.”
Melbourne Archdiocese's Media Director Shane Healy said he was “delighted” to hear Ms Hartland was raised on love and compassion as a Catholic. He said they were the same reasons the Church did not support assisted suicide. “This issue requires a respectful debate and is too important for the community, the elderly, the sick and other vulnerable groups to be trivialised by name-calling,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Andrews government said no health practitioner or health service would be forced to participate in voluntary assisted dying.
Greens urge Catholic hospitals funds review (The Australian)