Archbishop Kanishka Raffel is urging support for an ePetition that calls on the Upper House of the NSW Parliament to reject the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021.

The bill passed the Lower House of State Parliament last year and was then referred to an Upper House committee. The committee is expected to finalise its report this month.

Opponents of the bill, including Labor MP Greg Donnelly, have launched a petition on the Legislative Council’s ePetitions webpage.

The petition reads:

To the President and Members of the Legislative Council, the petitioners of New South Wales state that they are completely opposed to the passage of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021, in any form, which provides for state sanctioned/funded assisted suicide/euthanasia. 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.

Archbishop Raffel is urging Christians to support the e-petition, saying the bill “is a momentous shift in medical practice and community expectation”. 

“To legislate for a person to request their doctor to assist them to die fundamentally alters the doctor-patient relationship,” the Archbishop said. “The way of arguing – ‘if you don’t choose it, it won’t affect you’ – is naïve. It neglects the way in which practices form culture, the way laws create values. A legal right to have another person – a physician no less – assist in your death affects everyone precisely because it is a matter of public law.”

“Laws create culture. Practices shape values and community expectations. For 2000 years, Christian theology has asserted the inestimable value of the individual created in the image of God and precious by virtue of life’s sanctity, not merely life’s utility or quality. We abandon that principle at our peril.”

Doctors have also expressed concern. Melbourne oncologist Dr Marion Harris wrote recently in The Australian newspaper about Victoria, where such laws have passed.

“Most cancer patients want to live as long as they can,” she wrote in the newspaper. “Like most oncologists, through years of practice I’ve never had a patient ask me to end their life. Bad-death stories championed by right-to-die organisations report one-sided views, often from grieving relatives unfamiliar with the normal processes of death.”

Dr Harris urged that the Bill be rejected and palliative care be supported.

Mr Donnelly is passionate about maximising the support for the ePetition, in order to send a message to the Upper House to reject the bill.

It takes less than two minutes to complete and people are urged to sign it, pass it on and promote it to others.

The ePetition closes on April 25, after which it will be presented to the Legislative Council. You can sign here.

Related Posts