The Queensland Parliament, like the Victorian Parliament four years ago, is committed to legislating for euthanasia. But there are three major developments proposed that are very worrying, writes Fr Frank Brennan SJ. Source: The Australian.
First, under Victorian law a registered health practitioner is not allowed to initiate discussion about VAD with a patient or resident to whom they are providing health or professional care services.
Under the Queensland bill the health practitioner is allowed to initiate the discussion. They can even make an unsolicited suggestion of VAD provided they tell the patient about other options, including palliative care. The last thing ageing, sick people need is evangelising health practitioners prompting them to consider VAD. The Victorian law precludes that; the Queensland bill encourages it.
Second, under Victorian law a doctor is able to buy out of all aspects of euthanasia by informing their patients they have a conscientious objection. The Queensland Parliament is proposing that the provider who views VAD as morally unacceptable must provide the patient with information about another provider “who, in the practitioner’s belief, is likely to be able to assist the person with the person’s request”.
Third, under Victorian law and practice, hospitals and nursing homes can maintain their principled objections to euthanasia, giving notice to all patients and residents that VAD services are not provided on their campuses, whether for religious or other reasons. The Queensland bill provides access for consulting VAD practitioners to facilities that do not provide VAD.
Father Frank Brennan is rector of Newman College at the University of Melbourne.
Three ways Queensland’s assisted dying bill goes too far (The Australian)