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The ACT Human Rights Commission recommends removing age restrictions from the legislation to allow young people to access euthanasia (Bigstock)

Part of the absurdity of various legislation about euthanasia is that it is described as health care. Health care seeks to heal, cure, sustain and relieve suffering – but not to kill, writes Patrick McArdle. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

The ACT Government is currently considering such a bill through an inquiry. It has three areas that are novel in the Australian context: there are no residential requirements; there will be no requirement for a terminal illness or prognosis of a time of death – the person simply has to have a condition that is “advanced, progressive and expected to cause death” along with the person believing that they are or may suffer intolerably, in other words all the criteria of old age; and it will not be necessary to have two medical practitioners involved in the determination of eligibility – two registered health practitioners will be sufficient.

The basis claimed for these novel provisions in the ACT bill and some further options, which have been indicated as being part of the first review of the bill should it become law, is compatibility with the ACT Human Rights Act. 

In its submission to the Legislative Assembly Select Committee Inquiry, the ACT Human Rights Commission takes up a number of these additional issues – calling for the removal of the age restrictions; further provisions to address the lack of or loss of capacity to make a decision on euthanasia; and, reduced oversight and reporting requirements. 

The reason for these additional proposals is that young people and those suffering from a lack of capacity or dementia have a right to receive health care without discrimination!

In almost every situation our society seeks to offer special protections to the vulnerable, especially to minors and those lacking capacity. Yet, here is the ACT Human Rights Commission arguing it is discriminatory not to kill young people or those who cannot make choices for themselves. Does this sound right to anyone?

Dr Patrick McArdle is chancellor of the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese.


ACT considers bizarre notion of human rights (The Catholic Weekly)


ACT Voluntary Assisted Dying: going where no one has gone before! (Catholic Voice)