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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP addresses an anti-euthanasia rally in Sydney in 2021 (The Catholic Weekly/Giovanni Portelli)

At a time when social cohesion is needed more than ever, the New South Wales euthanasia legislation that came into effect yesterday is a divisive law, writes Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

It divides us into two classes of people: those whose lives are worth fighting for to the end, and those whose lives we consider a burden to themselves and others that we will not carry.

The first group receives quality medical and psychological care, suicide prevention programs and help lines. The latter’s care is crowned by taxpayer-funded suicide “navigators” tasked with guiding them through the process of prematurely ending their life.

The new law also divides us along other lines. Some will be able to opt out of performing euthanasia, and assisting or hosting suicides. But many will not.

Faith-based nursing homes, in particular, will now be required by NSW law to host euthanasia on their premises and to enable it in various ways.

The conscience rights of the nuns and others, whose aged care facilities have cared for thousands of our elders are being trampled on. NSW Health also wants to override the professional objections of public hospital doctors by requiring them to admit as their patients people requesting euthanasia.

Those of us troubled by state-sanctioned, medicalised killing must recognise that its supporters are good-willed. They genuinely believe that this is a benevolent thing to do for someone who is suffering or a respectful thing to allow for someone who chooses it.

But it is a radical departure from Judeo-Christian ethics and from classical medical ethics to suppose that giving a person a lethal drug is a form of healthcare.


Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP: Voluntary Assisted Dying divides us into two classes (The Catholic Weekly)