Euthanasia activists scaremongering in ACT inquiry

As the ACT Legislative Assembly concludes its inquiry into the provisions of proposed euthanasia and assisted suicide laws for the territory, euthanasia activists are revealing their willingness to engage in the most unethical forms of scaremongering to try in an effort to secure the most extreme euthanasia laws in the ACT.

EXIT International ACT Chapter representative, David Swanton – the organisation founded by Philip Nitschke – told the Committee that it was ‘abhorrent’ that children would be excluded from the euthanasia regime proposed for the ACT:

“The discrimination against children, people who are terminally ill is as abhorrently vile as discrimination on the basis of sex or race”, he said. “Why should we be condemning in this bill that children should suffer. Children must not suffer”.

He goes on:

“Why are we limiting voluntary assisted dying to adults only. If you have a two year old, they can’t make a decision. Let’s say in the terrible circumstance they have three months to live… they can suffer and die or you here, the legislators, can enable a bill towards not suffering, that’s what we think a humane society should be doing”.

What is abhorrent is the undermining of public confidence in the work of palliative care specialists by euthanasia activists.  EXIT International is determined to spread the lie that there are two options when a patient is terminally ill - you can suffer terribly or you can die by euthanasia. Of course, this is a complete lie, but a useful one as they push for their objective, which is euthanasia on demand without any so-called safeguards or restrictions, which their founder Philip Nitschke refers to as ‘beg and grovel’ provisions.

Contrast the approach that seeks to offer death as the default solution for terminally ill children with what palliative care offers.

Palliative care, as Dr Patrick McArdle from the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn recently outlined in this opinion piece, is a:

“person and family centred approach to advanced, progressive illness from which a person might be expected to die. Palliative care offers the relief of pain and the treatment of other symptoms that may cause discomfort or distress to the person; it offers support to stay at home and the necessary equipment to bring this about; it includes assistance to the person and families to address emotional, social, cultural and spiritual concerns. It is practical and directed at the needs of the person now and as their illness progresses”.

An organisation that coaches vulnerable people how to suicide over the internet and is working towards a society that offers suicide on demand is in no position to be advising on what is ‘abhorrent’ when it comes to the care of terminally ill children, and legislators certainly should not be taking their advice.