Queensland Government rejects pleas of Catholic hospitals

Opponents of proposed euthanasia laws at a March for Life rally in Brisbane on Saturday. (Alan Edgecomb/Catholic Leader)

Faith-based hospitals will not be able to stop outside doctors helping terminally ill ­patients die after the Queensland Government rejected the churches' pleas for protection from the nation's widest euthanasia law. Source: The Australian.

The legislation leaves the private, church-backed institutions that provide more than a quarter of all hospital beds in Queensland powerless to intervene if a patient who qualifies for VAD and is too ill to be moved elsewhere insists on being assessed and potentially dosed with death-dealing drugs on the premises.

The bill approved yesterday by state cabinet notionally gives individual health workers and institutions the capacity to opt out of the assisted dying scheme – except in cases when it would cause unnecessary suffering to transfer the ­patient concerned to another centre, a loophole that has been seized on by church leaders to argue they will be roped into the program.

Some ministers at the cabinet discussion wanted the churches’ push for a right of conscientious objection addres­sed. Instead, cabinet agreed the legislation would remain intact and be augmented by clinical guidelines setting out how the VAD was to interact with the faith-based hospital and care sector.

The numbers in the single-chamber Queensland parliament mean the legislation to be debated from today will pass the conscience vote.

Catholic Health Australia’s mission director, Rebecca Burdick Davies, said she was disappointed that a “flawed bill” had been retained after several rounds of talks with Deputy Premier Steven Miles.

FULL STORY

Churches denied a say in patient deaths (By Lydia Lynch, The Australian)

RELATED COVERAGE

New guidelines an olive branch for VAD opponents (The Courier-Mail)

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