THE euthanasia debate is full of horror stories, the author of a new book on the subject Bill Muehlenberg says.
Mr Muehlenberg said people could learn from abuses that have occurred elsewhere in the world where euthanasia was legalised, including Holland and Belgium.
Speaking at a forum at the Queensland Parliamentary Annex in Brisbane, promoting his new book The Challenge of Euthanasia, he described “the slippery slope”.
The event was live-streamed to members of 14 Cherish Life branches across Queensland.
“Consider the Remmelink Report, an official Dutch government survey of euthanasia practices, found that more than one thousand patients are involuntarily euthanised each year,” Mr Muehlenberg, from CultureWatch, said.
“As one Oxford philosopher put it, the Dutch experience clearly shows that ‘even with stringent safeguards, once voluntary euthanasia is legalised the descent down the slippery slope is inevitable’.”
Mr Muehlenberg’s new book contains Australian statistics and an easy-to-read understanding of the issues.
“When you have legalised euthanasia the relationship between patient and doctor weakens,” he said.
“Instead of trust, fear creeps in, when you don’t know whether your doctor is there to keep you alive or in fact help to kill you.
“The most vulnerable will be at risk. It certainly sends out a wrong message about what medicine is all about.”
The Brisbane event, hosted by Cherish Life Queensland, also featured Paul Russell, from HOPE: No Euthanasia – Australia’s only full-time single-purpose organisation on euthanasia.
Referring to Australia’s media, with its emphasis on sensationalist reporting, Mr Russell said a defence of the right to life always took longer “than a few sound bites” or “a short article”.
However he said it was important for his organisation, and others explaining the case against euthanasia, to increase “the literacy in our community on this issue”.
Mr Russell said polling showed support for euthanasia running at about 85 per cent.
“It really shows about 15 per cent of our population understand the ethical problems of euthanasia,” he said.
“The biggest problem I have … is that euthanasia is killing.
“ Assisted suicide is helping someone to commit suicide.”