Church groups in WA reaffirm opposition to euthanasia

Euthanasia laws are expected to be introduced in the WA Parliament within weeks (Bigstock)

Terminally-ill patients in Western Australia’s biggest private hospitals, palliative care units and aged care homes won't be unable to die under proposed euthanasia laws after church groups confirmed they opposed the plan. Source: The Australian.

The McGowan Government is expected to introduce laws on voluntary euthanasia within weeks after receiving a report last month from an expert panel led by former WA governor Malcolm McCusker. If the legislation passes, WA would become the second state after Victoria to allow terminally ill patients to die by taking lethal medication.

Under proposed safeguards in WA, a person eligible for euthanasia would self-administer the medication, although a doctor would be able to help the patient if needed.

But patients in church-backed facilities will not be given the choice of assisted dying and will need to move to a state-run facility or return home to use the scheme.

Catholic providers offer more than 1800 hospital beds in WA — about 30 per cent of the state’s total. Catholic groups also provide 1450 residential aged-care beds and 750 independent living units and retirement units.

In a submission to the WA expert panel, St John of God Health Care said it would not allow voluntary assisted dying at its seven WA hospitals and its specialist palliative care units.

St John of God chief executive Shane Kelly said the organisation’s desire to respect the intrinsic value of every human life would be inconsistent with “action that intentionally and actively seeks to bring about the premature end of such life”.

He said it was “imperative” that any person exercising a conscientious objection to euthanasia be given protection under the law from discrimination or unfair treatment.

In its submission to the panel, Christian organisation Bethesda Health Care said its clinicians would never intentionally end the life of a person in its care as part of an assisted dying scheme or in any other circumstances.

Aged care provider Catholic Homes said in a submission that it did not support voluntary assisted dying, while Catholic Health Australia chief executive Suzanne Greenwood said yesterday the group was concerned about the lack of access to palliative care services in WA.

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Church groups oppose euthanasia (The Australian

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