Teen assisted suicide plan – horrific

assisted suicide

A plan to introduce assisted suicide to teens in Australia has Sydney’s Catholic archbishop sounding the alarm.

The ACT Labor-Greens government’s proposal to allow teenagers as young as 14 to access voluntary assisted dying could see assisted suicide become available to “anyone that wants it”, says Archbishop Anthony Fisher (pictured).

Every jurisdiction that has introduced assisted suicide has relaxed restrictions over time, he notes.

In setting such a low bar, Fisher says the ACT would see standards “end up in the gutter with no protections at all”.

ACT Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne has released a community consultation report. It will be used to help shape legislation to be introduced by the end of the year, she says.

Protections whittled away

“The fact is, every jurisdiction in the world that has gone down the euthanasia path has then gradually stripped away its protections,” Fisher says.

“So, if we start as the ACT is proposing to start, with the bar ­already very low, well they’re just going to end up in the gutter with no protections at all.”

Calling the ACT government “radical”, Fisher says the ACT or its leader must enforce safeguards around ­assisted suicide.

“Victoria has had euthanasia for only a year or two, and they’re already talking about removing most of the protections.

“Well, if the ACT starts with ­almost none, where are they going to be two or three years on?

“My guess is it will be ­euthanasia on ­demand for anyone that wants it …”.

Cheyne sees it differently. She rejects as “arbitrary” all other Australian jurisdictions’ assisted suicide restrictions

Currently, assisted suicide is only available to over 18-year olds with a terminal illness and life expectancy of between six and 12 months, or to people with dementia.

No comment

Health Minister Mark Butler and opposition health spokeswoman Anne Ruston have declined to comment on territory issues.

The five MPs representing ACT also declined to comment.

Informed choice

National’s MP Barnaby Joyce doesn’t think 14-year-olds are mature enough to make an “informed cogent decision about the most precious thing they have, which is their life.

“If you’re going to go to 14, why not go to four?” he asks.

“It’s what happens when you have a Greens left-wing Labor government and the idea the state reigns supreme over the individual. It’s the removal of all forms of religion to be replaced with the ethos of the state.”

Northern Territory chief minister Marshall Perron devised the world’s first right-to-die laws.

He thinks it is “very hard to put a finger” on when a teenager developed the decision-making capacity to be eligible for assisted suicide.

“You’ll get a different opinion from different people … 16 and 17 would be an easier step to go,” he says.

“However, there is an argument to go beyond that.

“If we’re talking about terminally ill individuals who are going to die and are suffering horrifically, I mean, anyone who’s a parent would have to have some sympathy for the child.”


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