Former prime minister Tony Abbott says proposed euthanasia laws in New South Wales would fundamentally undermine the relationship between doctors and patients by legitimising doctor-assisted suicide in the state. Source: CNS.
“It would turn doctors from healers into killers, and that would be a tragedy for the medical profession and a diminution of our society,” he said.
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich plans to introduce a Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill to the NSW Parliament, which would allow for two doctors to approve a euthanasia procedure with no mandatory psychological assessment.
Under the proposed bill, the two doctors do not need to be independent of each other, and they do not need to meet and examine the patient in person.
Speaking to an online forum of more than 100 mainly university students on last week, Mr Abbott said the bill was fundamentally flawed and directly contradicts sound ethical principles in health care.
“It legitimises suicide. We should remember that state and federal governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on mental health programs, essentially to stop us from getting to the point where we feel our lives are worthless and pointless,” he said.
Bernadette Tobin, director of the Plunkett Centre for Bioethics at Sydney's St Vincent’s Hospital, told the forum: “This debate is not about assisting people to die in comfort and with dignity. That’s what a good doctor does at the end of anyone’s life. That’s what we’re doing when we’re providing palliative care as I see every day at St. Vincent’s Hospital.”
Mr Abbott urged people concerned about euthanasia to make their views known very strongly to their local representatives to minimise any chance of the laws being passed by Parliament.