Morrison says “no way” to euthanasia 445



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The right to die debate is in full swing again.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison says he will never support voluntary euthanasia.

He told Victorian radio station 3AW today “I believe in the sanctity of human life.”

The Victorian parliament last week voted to have an inquiry into end of life issues and palliative care. The inquiry will report back to the parliament by the end of March.

Mr Morrison’s comments come as a prominent Victorian ethicist says doctors who help people die should be better protected under national and state laws which put them at risk of being criminally charged.

In the latest Medical Journal of Australia released today Monash University professor Paul Komesaroff and former judge Stephen Charles QC have called for legislation to provide doctors with a defence to homicide or manslaughter.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the defence would be on the grounds of a doctor intending or reasonably believing it was necessary to prescribe or administer a drug to relieve the pain or suffering of a patient.

The “simple” legislative change is aimed at finding similarities in the long polarised debate on voluntary euthanasia law in Australia.

“There is a lot of common ground, in particular on the cluster of patients who are in the terminal stages of their illness,” Professor Komesaroff said.

The opponents, including the Australian Medical Association and Catholic Church, have long remained in a bitter deadlock with right to die activists.

Professor Komesaroff said the proposed legislation would help quell the divide, with both the church and medical association indicating their support.

The approach satisfies the medieval Catholic doctrine of “double effect” which allows a person to alleviate suffering despite an unintended therapeutic result.

Professor Komesaroff said doctors faced “uncertainty and anxiety” about their exposure to legal action.  He said in the vast majority of the cases a doctor’s intention was not primarily to kill the patient, but to alleviate their pain and suffering.

What do you think? Is Scott Morrison right in saying a definite “no” to euthanasia? Or should there be law reform to protect doctors who help people die?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Guess it would reduce the pension bill

    3 REPLY
    • Decades ago, I saw a film that was set in the extreme Northern hemisphere, probably a hundred or more years ago.

      During the film, an old Grandmother, too old and feeble to contribute to her family’s existence, was gently taken (by a male family member) a long way from their dwelling and left in the icy snow to die. Her son (or son-in-law) and family loved her dearly and showed sadness, but she and they knew it was best for their survival in such harsh conditions. It was apparently the usual and expected practice in that long-ago era!

      Well, I cried and cried – seemed so terrible; however, I also saw the necessity of their actions.
      Different time and different culture.

      So.. to the present. I think it is often frightfully CRUEL to keep people ALIVE, without giving them a choice, when they are faced with advanced dementia, terminal cancer and/or a condition or disease that is so painful and vastly diminishes their quality of life and robs them of their joy and dignity.

      My wonderful late Mum spent 9 years in a nursing home, after her second stroke at about 81. She had all her faculties, was eventually able to knit and crochet again, winning prizes for these, but eventually got weaker and died at almost 90, having been unable to knit, crochet, read or listen to the radio for so many months! Arthritis developed, so stiff! She would say she wanted God to take her, as she’d had enough!

      During those 9 years, I witnessed some dreadfully sad cases of quite ancient people who were strapped into wheelchairs, spoon-fed but still couldn’t eat/swallow, recognised no-one, just very slowly wasted away or eventually died from heart attack, stroke, pneumonia or infection, etc.

      For those people who are concerned about our spiralling health budget, think of the thousands of nursing homes throughout AUSTRALIA that have many thousands of people in terminal and very sad conditions therein, and one can quickly see the expense to our country that this involves.

      So..Euthanasia… serious food for thought by everyone! One thing is for certain – no nursing home for me! When it’s time to go, I’m going! Even if it’s MY way. Hopefully, not for a LOOONG time; however, in the meantime, love my friends and family, beautiful grandchildren, home, garden, sewing, writing, mowing, etc. etc.
      And I believe in God.

  2. all to do with Religeon but it would have to be controlled very strickly when your quality of life has gone thats it why live

  3. It’s your life. Surely you have a right to decide when to end it. I saw my Dad suffer for the last 2 years of his life when all he wanted was to die.There was no dignity it it I can tell you.

  4. Sitting with my mother as I type, in the palliative care room. Dementia has made her final years so sad and painful. She didn’t want this. She asked to die. It’s been a cruel time and I wait for her release.

    14 REPLY
    • I feel your pain , went through this twice with my mum & brother last year , its a cruel way to die

    • Write down all you feel and all you experience with her care. I did as I sat with my mum for her last 17 days. It is now a book called Dignity for Doris. Sadly mum never got to die with dignity, the only thing she requested.

    • If anybody has to watch a loved one die, where there’s no hope for them, then yes euthanasia, I’d hate my family to remember me like that!

    • As a nursing sister, retired over the past 15 years, & a non-practising Catholic, i have always been pro-Euthanasia during my nursing career! Have seen a lot of my patients in my nursing years suffer a lot, especially those with incurable diseases! Have assisted some doctors (in Canada), acquiescing to their patients & families demand to “end their suffering”! I was at odds with the churches beliefs of “sanctity of life”; but as i always said to those who labelled me a “heathen”, i will take my chances with GOD, if there’s one, when my time comes !!

    • Yes Robyn I have and it is agony, Mum died last year and she too always said she wanted to die with dignity. It broke my heart.

    • As a Christian I can only say that only God determines when we died! I pray I never be put to the test! Praise God!

    • If you and your mother are in need…..ask the doctors for something to help calm your mother. They will help as best they can, they don’t like to see suffering. Take Care.

  5. everyone should have a right to decide especially if u have led a good life and all your left with is suffering and no quality of life

  6. I think in certain circumstances it should be allowed. For instance if a person is brain dead but the heart is still beating it should be allowed. It should be up to the individual. You will find that a lot of people who know their illness is terminal don’t want to give up anyway

    1 REPLY
  7. (Scott Morrison) told Victorian radio station 3AW today “I believe in the sanctity of human life.”
    This from the man who has overseen the worst ever treatment of asylum seekers reaching this country. Almost comical!
    That said, I am in favour of voluntary euthanasia. If I choose to die then that should be my choice. If I ask for help in doing so from my doctor, close friends or family then they should not be penalised for helping me.

    4 REPLY
  8. I definatly agree with it,but it is a touchy subject,not so if you have someone you love going through hell with a terminal illness .

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