Australia NSW: Catholics urged to sign anti-euthanasia petition
By Vatican News staff reporter
A petition has been launched to stop the passage of the “Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021” in the Australian state of New South Wales.
In October last year, the bill was introduced in the NSW Legislative Assembly by MP Alex Greenwich.
It then passed the Lower House in November 2021, when members voted in favour of the bill 52 to 32 on a conscience vote.
A New South Wales Parliamentary Committee looking into the proposed law is due to hand in its final report next week. The bill is then expected to be formally introduced into the NSW Legislative Council.
All human life is sacred
Catholics and others against euthanasia and assisted suicide are being asked to sign the petition to stop the passage of the Bill.
The petition declares: “A cornerstone of our legal system is that ALL human life has inherent value and must be treated with dignity and respect. The petitioners request that the House unanimously oppose the bill, in any form, and reject it.”
The appeal was spearheaded by Labour MLC Greg Donnelly as a clarion call to all members of the NSW Legislative Council.
The petition also has the backing of the Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, OP, who said, “We really can make a difference when we speak up, so I encourage you to sign the petition and stand for life.”
Speaking about the proposed legislation, Bishop Richard Umbers, who serves on the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference Commission for Family, Life and Public Engagement said, “The legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide sends a message to already vulnerable people that their lives are not worth living, that they are better off dead. We need to denounce this for the lie that it is and boldly proclaim the truth that every human being is valuable.”
According to the Australian Bishops’ Conference website, “more than 30 of Australia and New Zealand’s top palliative care practitioners have joined forces to oppose the introduction of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, describing the practice as “unnecessary and unsafe”.
Under the provisions of this bill, a terminally ill patient can make a request for a voluntary assisted death to a specialist doctor, which is then given to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Board for assessment before it can proceed.
Laws and Church’s response
Five of Australia’s six states have passed legislation allowing for voluntary assisted dying for eligible individuals.
Euthanasia has also been legalised in countries including, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. However, this week, the Italian Bishops’ Conference welcomed a decision by the country’s Constitutional Court to reject a petition calling for a referendum on the decriminalisation of euthanasia.
In September 2020, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a letter, approved by the Pope, entitled Samaritanus bonus (The Good Samaritan), which reiterates the condemnation of any form of euthanasia and assisted suicide, and advocates support for families and healthcare workers.