Former Liberal MP Kevin Andrews says a proposal being considered by the ACT Government to open euthanasia to 14-year-olds shows society has “lost its way”. Source: The Australian.
He said the “radical” proposal undermined efforts to lower rates of youth suicide, arguing a “law which says, ‘you are better off dead’ will always be a bad law”.
The ACT Government is considering what could be the most liberal voluntary assisted dying scheme in the country if it removes the “arbitrary” requirement for people to have six or 12 months to live to access the scheme and opens it up to children as young as 14.
“Instead of acquiescing to these proposals, we should be reasserting the value of every human life and providing the best possible care for all people, especially the vulnerable and the ill,” Mr Andrews said.
“We spend much time and effort rightly to prevent youth suicide. This proposal undermines all these efforts. Young people should be protected, not told they are disposable.”
In 1997, Mr Andrews co-sponsored a private-members bill – the Euthanasia Laws Act – that outlawed assisted suicide in the territories, scuppering Australia’s first euthanasia scheme operating in the Northern Territory.
Four people were able to access the scheme before it was shut down following a fierce campaign, in part led by Industrial Relations Minister Tony Burke, who ran lobby group Euthanasia No!
Federal parliament last year voted to repeal the Euthanasia Laws Act, paving the way for the ACT to legalise assisted suicide.
“Until it was repealed, the Commonwealth Euthanasia Laws Act precluded the ACT from enacting such radical laws,” Mr Andrews, 67, said.
Voluntary assisted dying for kids shows ‘we’ve lost our way’, says Kevin Andrews (By Rhiannon Down, The Australian)