TOWNSVILLE Bishop Tim Harris and Anglican North Queensland Bishop Keith Joseph have issued a joint statement criticising the latest push towards euthanasia by the Queensland Parliament.
“As a society we rightly detest murder and suicide: for we rightly hold that human life is precious and should be protected,” the bishops said.
“Euthanasia is carried out either by helping someone end their life or by having a health care professional intentionally take their life.
“How can we do this if we think the intentional taking of life is wrong?”
The bishops said many people reading their statement might say religious leaders have no right to impose their values onto others.
Basing arguments on human life
“And they are quite right,” they said.
“Our arguments here are based on reason and experience and are informed by the deepest respect for human life.”
The bishops pointed to places like Oregon State in the United States and Victoria, saying their euthanasia laws were only limited to competent adults who were terminally ill and close to dying.
“However the Netherlands stands as an example of how legalising euthanasia can take us to places we do not want to go: over six thousand people die in the Netherlands from euthanasia each year,” they said.
“People who have died include not only the terminally ill, but younger people with disorders such as depression and other mental illnesses.
“Instead of fighting to save the lives of such people, the state has assisted with their deaths.”
The rate of death in the Netherlands from euthanasia is one in 2900 residents, which the bishops said was far greater than the death rate of gun violence in the US, about one in 10,000.
Or the rate of motor vehicle accidents at about one in 20,000 people.
“With advances in medical technology people now live far longer lives and in some cases those lives are extended at the cost of great suffering,” the bishops said.
“Those of us who work with the dying as part of our vocation are sadly well aware of this.
“But the response to this suffering should not be euthanasia: rather we should be putting far more of our efforts and our money into palliative care.”
Palliative shortage cripples care
The bishops said there was only one palliative care specialist in North Queensland and a shortage of palliative carers.
“We know that people prefer to die at home or on country, especially Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders,” the bishops said.
“How can this be done well when the resources are not there?
“How can palliative care be a real option when there is not enough research and not enough resources?
“Death with dignity is not euthanasia: death with dignity is excellent palliative care available to all Queenslanders regardless of where they live.”
The bishops also pointed to the importance of spiritual care towards the end of people’s lives.
“If Queensland is serious about providing quality health care then euthanasia ought not to be the first response,” they said.
“Rather we need to put our resources and efforts into providing care of the whole person and ensuring the best possible palliative care for Queenslanders.
“The legalisation of euthanasia without significantly improving holistic care and palliative care is simply immoral.
“Queenslanders pride themselves on respecting life and we are truly appalled by the high suicide rates that afflict our state.”
Brisbane prepares to March for Life in October
A PROVISIONAL date has been set for Brisbane’s March for Life on October 12.
The march will start at Queens Garden, Brisbane, at 1.30pm for a 2pm march to Speaker’s Corner.
Cherish Life director Teeshan Johnson said the date marked almost a year since Queensland’s “brutal” abortion bill passed.
“It’s horrific and we say no,” she said.
“We will never give up on life – we are marching in honour of the little lives lost in abortion, and in defiance to Queensland’s profoundly unjust and wicked abortions law.”
The rally will also be a chance to come together in response to the recent push for euthanasia legislation.
“We must push back against this cultural Marxist killing agenda, and make a strong case for far more government investment into palliative care services in Queensland,” Ms Johnson said.
“The problem of poor palliative care services needs even greater attention.
“We are petitioning the Government for more care and not killing.”
A petition is circulating with the March for Life information called “Euthanasia – We can live without it”.
Queensland palliative care specialist Dr Judith McEniery wrote the petition and raised many concerns against the proposed legislation.
Ms Johnson said the march would be a peaceful, positive protest and a time of prayer.