Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has warned a proposal being considered by the ACT Government to allow teens as young as 14 to access voluntary assisted dying could see euthanasia become available to “anyone that wants it”. Source: The Australian.
Archbishop Fisher said that every jurisdiction that had introduced euthanasia had relaxed restrictions over time, cautioning that by setting such a low bar the ACT would see standards “end up in the gutter with no protections at all”.
ACT Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne told The Australian that the Labor-Greens Government was considering allowing children as young as 14 to access voluntary assisted dying, unveiling a community consultation report yesterday to help shape legislation to be introduced by the end of the year.
“The fact is, every jurisdiction in the world that has gone down the euthanasia path has then gradually stripped away its protections,” Archbishop Fisher said.
“So, if we start as the ACT’s proposing to start, with the bar already very low, well they’re just going to end up in the gutter with no protections at all.”
Archbishop Fisher branded the ACT Government – led by Chief Minister Andrew Barr – a “radical government” that he didn’t trust to enforce safeguards around assisted suicide. He also questioned why 14-year-olds were considered too young to drive and vote but mature enough to “make a life-and-death decision”.
Ms Cheyne also rejected as arbitrary the requirement in other Australian jurisdictions for euthanasia to be accessed only by people with a life expectancy of between six and 12 months, and left the door open for dementia patients to access the scheme.
Low Barr: Archbishop’s concerns VAD will lead ACT standard to the ‘gutter’ (By Rhiannon Down, The Australian)
Tara Cheyne releases consultation report for voluntary assisted dying laws in the ACT (By Lucy Blades, Canberra Times)