In today’s Australian (paywalled) there is this:
Australia is increasingly likely to get its first legalised euthanasia regime, as Victorian Labor moves decisively behind its Premier and opponents privately concede momentum is firmly against the desperate, behind-the-scenes “no’’ campaign.
Multiple cabinet sources in the Andrews government have confirmed that backing for assisted suicide laws is virtually unanimous across the ministry, with firm — philosophical — resistance down to as few as two ministers.
The Liberal Party also appears set to deliver enough numbers to ensure assisted dying legislation passes through the upper house, although final positions will only be known when draft laws are written by the government…..
Before casting their votes, the Garden State’s lawmakers might want to review two Quadrant essays. The first, by retired anaesthetist and palliative care physician Brian Pollard, was published in 2011’s January edition:
The push for legalised medically assisted death in Australia has now increased to the point where bills are before several state parliaments and another is before the Commonwealth parliament to reverse the previous overturning of the Northern Territory legislation. I have analysed most of the previous failed bills and noted their weaknesses. Rather than debate the pros and cons of the social role of euthanasia, I believe that MPs, who have sole responsibility for making safe laws, should direct their attention to ensuring that draft euthanasia bills cannot imperil the lives of innocent people who do not wish to die.
It is evident that the authors of those bills have not read any of the extensive literature on this subject because they invariably include, as so-called safeguards, provisions which are known not to work in practice. A common feature of those who advocate euthanasia bills is their touching faith that certain things will happen, just because the draft prescribes them. If that were true, no crime would ever be committed because all crime is currently forbidden by some law.
Last year, in our July edition, Peter Kurti explored the “assisted dying” movement‘s perversion of language and “human rights”:
… The rhetoric of rights deployed to promote the idea of “dying with dignity” actually entails a grotesque inversion of the very principle of a “right”. Developed for the protection and preservation of the individual against the demands of the state and of other individuals, the language of rights has now been commandeered to promote the wants and demands of the “self” that include the desire for self-negation. This individuated “self” finds its ultimate expression in the self-negating assertion of the “right to die”.
This new rights rhetoric has little to do with the protective function of human rights but is concerned solely with trying to fathom immensely complex moral problems.
It would be nice to think legislators — especially the Liberals — might consider these arguments before granting permission for doctors to hand out their little black pills. Nice, but most unlikely.
— roger franklin