The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia has reaffirmed its principled opposition to euthanasia or physician assisted suicide.

The strong statement came as the NSW Parliament considers a Bill to allow for such a practice. 

The Synod said physician-assisted suicide was a threat to the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable in our society. It overturns the ethics of medicine and healthcare and it is opposed by all faiths that share the belief that life is sacred.

At the same time, a coalition of organisations has urged NSW MLCs to respect the rights of staff and residents of aged care facilities who do not want to facilitate assisted dying. 

The groups, including Anglicare, HammondCare and Catholic Health Australia are providing live-in aged care services for up to 16,500 people in NSW, while also supporting more than 35,000 additional people in their private homes across the state.

“The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 claims to offer choice in end-of-life matters yet it fails to protect the choice of residents in aged care facilities who do not want anything to do with assisted dying,” the statement from the coalition says.

The Synod motion backs the view of the three healthcare groups that MPs should amend the bill to permit faith-based organisations, including residential aged care providers, who oppose euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, to refuse, on the grounds of institutional conscientious objection, to participate in, facilitate or permit euthanasia or assisted suicide in or at their premises or facilities or services in any way.

Photo (by James Levingston): Archbishop Geoff Smith chairs the Synod