Port Pirie Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ has told a South Australian parliamentary committee inquiry that the basis of the Church’s opposition to euthanasia is the commandment “thou shalt not kill”. Source: The Southern Cross.
By Jenny Brinkworth, The Southern Cross
Bishop O’Kelly was part of a delegation representing the Church in South Australia that appeared before the state’s Joint Parliamentary Committee on End of Life Choices this week.
The committee, chaired by Labor MLC Kyam Maher, is looking into practices used to assist a person to manage their end of life when experiencing chronic or terminal illness, including the role of palliative care. Its terms of reference also include consideration of voluntary assisted dying legislation.
Bishop O’Kelly spoke in support of the Australian Medical Association (SA) submission purporting that South Australia has the most complete framework of legislation supporting good end of life care for patients, but that there may be some failures in promoting advance care planning to the community and in the education of health practitioners.
Bishop O’Kelly also told the committee that there was inadequate resourcing of palliative care.
Other members of the delegation, Greg Crafter OAM and Pauline Connelly, responded to questioning from the committee.
Ms Connelly spoke of the importance of supporting those who are suffering and building capacity to make people as safe as possible.
She gave the example of her 32-year-old son who has the most aggressive form of multiple sclerosis and is a quadriplegic.
“He gives an enormous amount back, and if you saw him you wouldn’t think he would be able to do that … what he wants most of all is to still feel valuable and to still feel like he gives something back to us.
“So I think we do need to have some type of value, that ‘you are not a burden’. You will never be a burden to us because you have a mental health problem, because you have a disability, because you are aged,” she said.
“We have to have a society where people aren’t seen as that. My concern is that the choice around that to end life, if you are seen like that, diminishes us as a people.”
Church gives evidence to SA inquiry into euthanasia (The Southern Cross)