Christian Medical Professionals say: Sign petition to stop euthanasia

At a time when our nation should be trying to save lives and provide better aged care, new laws promoting euthanasia and assisted suicide are putting vulnerable people in danger.

Seeing the risk that these euthanasia laws pose to patients and medical professionals, the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Australia is rising up to oppose assisted suicide and to promote more ethical health care.

The Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Australia (CMDFA) is an organisation of doctors, dentists and associated healthcare professionals who are urging all Christians to sign a petition calling for New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian to oppose the introduction of new laws which would allow euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in NSW.

This is to oppose the new ‘Voluntary Assisted Dying’ legislation that Independent MP Alex Greenwich hopes to present to the NSW Parliament in September, after releasing a draft in July.

Greenwich argues that similar laws have now passed in Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand. Queensland has committed to a draft bill.

But is that any reason for NSW to jump off the same cliff?

Professor John Whitehall, National Chair of the CMDFA, is one of many medical professionals who say no.

Speaking on behalf of his CMDFA colleagues, he says:

“We have great concern for those who suffer with terminal illness and agree that end-of-life care needs to be improved. We are, however, very concerned about the recent moves across Australia to legalise euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.”

“The CMDFA agrees with the World Medical Association [an international organisation founded by physicians from 27 different countries] that the practice of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession.

“Euthanasia is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice and we reject Mr Greenwich’s suggestion that these practices constitute a form of medical care.”

Professor Whitehall points to what’s happening overseas and why legalising euthanasia can be a slippery slope:

“The experience in Canada and the US state of Oregon, where they’ve already legislated to allow euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, reveals that it is not possible to legislate in such a way that wrongful deaths do not occur.”

Here in Australia, the death toll from euthanasia is tragically rising. Whitehall says, “Our colleagues in Victoria [where euthanasia has been legalised] are reporting distress as they are asked to facilitate the ending of their patients’ lives within the healthcare system.”

It’s little wonder these caring professionals are distressed, when you look at the statistics.

A recent report shows that since the ‘Voluntary Assisted Dying Act’ commenced in Victoria in June, 2019:

  • 224 people have died from taking the prescribed medications.
  • Applicants accessing Voluntary Assisted Dying were as young as 20 years old.
  • The average age of people accessing this was 71.
  • 23 per cent had a non-malignant diagnosis (not uncontrollable or resistant to therapy).

Seeing that doctors have taken an oath to preserve life, Professor Whitehall says, “We believe it is wrong for a doctor to kill a patient or to facilitate their suicide.”

Many feel it’s particularly wrong that such practices should be proposed at this time, after the Aged Care Royal Commission revealed a significant crisis in aged care in this country. Legalising euthanasia, as Whitehall and his colleagues in the CMDFA say, is not a suitable solution where the provision of palliative care has been shown to be inadequate.

“Our goal is to transform healthcare in Australia by maintaining ethical standards of medicine and protecting the vulnerable members of our community whose lives would be put at risk by such laws,” says Professor Whitehall.

You can take a stand with Christian doctors and other healthcare professionals in the CMDFA by signing the petition to oppose the introduction of unethical laws to allow euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in NSW .

Have your say today by signing the CMDFA petition here.

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