Friday, April 12, 2013

South Australian MPs put the case against euthanasia to their colleagues

South Australian Parliament

The following article was originally posted by Paul Russell, the founder and leader of HOPE Australia, a group that opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide. Russell is also the Vice Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International.

Paul Russell, April 10, 2013. Link to the original article.

Paul Russell
Four South Australian MPs have taken the unusual step of co-signing a letter today to all their colleagues concerning The Hon Bob Such's Ending Life with Dignity Bill.

This is effectively a summary of objections made by various organisations (including HOPE) to the parliament in recent days in respect to this bill. It provides a reflection upon the framework of the bill, in particular; and the problems with euthanasia legislation in general.

Congratulations to these courageous MPs for re-establishing the debate on it's proper footing!

Subject: Ending Life with Dignity Bill 2013

Dear Colleague,

Ending Life with Dignity Bill 2013

Please find below a short summary of serious concerns that have arisen from the above bill.  We have also attached a further more detailed letter which responds to the points made by Dr Such in his letter to members dated 21 February 2013.

We firmly believe that the bill should be opposed because;

1. The Australian Medical Association (SA) Inc. strongly opposes this bill (and the Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care (Withdrawal of Nutrition and Hydration) Amendment Bill 2013), stating,
“The AMA(SA) strongly opposes both Bills, considering them to be fundamentally and irretrievably flawed.”
2. The Law Society of SA has stated in a 12 page letter dated 1 March 2013 that more than 30 major changes to the bill are needed, in addition to some minor changes. The required changes generally concern the procedures and so-called protections in the bill. A copy of the letter is attached and should be read by anyone considering supporting this Bill.

3. Only one doctor must certify that the patient has a terminal illness. That doctor could, and most likely would be, a strong advocate for euthanasia.

4. There is no requirement whatsoever that any doctor involved has any past involvement with the patient, or even any knowledge of the past history of the patient.

5. Patients suffering from depression, even major depression, still qualify for euthanasia.  The expert opinion of a psychiatrist is not required.

6. There is no requirement whatsoever to notify a terminally ill patient’s relatives of intended euthanasia.

7. Persons as young as 18 years old (including those suffering from depression) can be put to death just 48 hours after the issue of the certificate of confirmation.

8. The law already allows patients to refuse ongoing treatment or life support, such that death results.

9. If euthanasia is legalised, the elderly will be vulnerable to feelings that they are a burden. The simple availability of euthanasia will itself place pressure on the elderly and vulnerable. Elderly people can be easily influenced, and may feel unwanted, even when this is not the case.

10. A poll referred to in ‘the Australian’ in October 2010 indicated that of those aged 65 to 74, only 18% approved of euthanasia.  Euthanasia is an issue most relevant to this group.

11. The doctor who finally kills the patient need only be a general practitioner. The very real possibility of an error in diagnosis is always present, especially without a requirement for a second medical opinion.

12. Only a very small minority of countries in the world have legalised euthanasia.

13. The bill requires that the cause of death be falsely stated in official documents as the underlying disease, even though this was not the cause of death. This will distort official statistics.

14. The bill requires insurance companies to pay on a death claim, even though death is by choice through euthanasia. The insurer would not be told of the true cause of death. This illustrates the fact that there can be financial advantages for the patient and family to consider in deciding upon euthanasia.

We hope you will take these important matters into consideration as the debate on the bill continues.

Yours faithfully

Leesa Vlahos MP,
Hon. Dennis Hood MLC,
Martin Hamilton-Smith MP,
Hon. Tom Kenyon MP.

26 comments:

Winston said...

Four fascists with an inverted understanding of compassion do not trump the wishes of over 80% of the electorate.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Winston:

You really like to make inverted statements.

It was the fascists who were the killers. We are anti-fascist.

Winston said...

Actually, fascists took rights away from individuals who did not want to die.

You're fascists because you strip freedoms away from others, people who have not hurt you or anyone else.

Social conservatism, by definition, is social fascism.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Clearly my beliefs or the positions of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition are not fascist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

We believe that every human life has equal dignity and no one has the right to kill another person.

Alex Schadenberg

Coop Wannabee said...

Euthanasia and assisted suicide is LONG overdue. We are stuck in the 1800's with religion and backward thinking preventing progress on this important issue. Alex Schadenberg doesn't want the legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide, but who is he to say that no-one else should choose it if they feel it's right for them? Mind your own business Mr Schadenberg!

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Coop:

Your argument misses the point.

Legalizing euthanasia is not about gaining greater autonomy but rather giving your doctor the right, in law, to cause your death.

This is very dangerous and will result in the death of people who do not want to die by euthanasia.

Doctors have enough power, we don't need to give them the power over life and death, it is not safe.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Coop:

Your argument misses the point.

Legalizing euthanasia is not about gaining greater autonomy but rather giving your doctor the right, in law, to cause your death.

This is very dangerous and will result in the death of people who do not want to die by euthanasia.

Doctors have enough power, we don't need to give them the power over life and death, it is not safe.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Coop:

Your argument misses the point.

Legalizing euthanasia is not about gaining greater autonomy but rather giving your doctor the right, in law, to cause your death.

This is very dangerous and will result in the death of people who do not want to die by euthanasia.

Doctors have enough power, we don't need to give them the power over life and death, it is not safe.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Coop:

Your argument misses the point.

Legalizing euthanasia is not about gaining greater autonomy but rather giving your doctor the right, in law, to cause your death.

This is very dangerous and will result in the death of people who do not want to die by euthanasia.

Doctors have enough power, we don't need to give them the power over life and death, it is not safe.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Coop:

Your argument misses the point.

Legalizing euthanasia is not about gaining greater autonomy but rather giving your doctor the right, in law, to cause your death.

This is very dangerous and will result in the death of people who do not want to die by euthanasia.

Doctors have enough power, we don't need to give them the power over life and death, it is not safe.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Coop:

Your argument misses the point.

Legalizing euthanasia is not about gaining greater autonomy but rather giving your doctor the right, in law, to cause your death.

This is very dangerous and will result in the death of people who do not want to die by euthanasia.

Doctors have enough power, we don't need to give them the power over life and death, it is not safe.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Coop:

I find it funny that you insist on bringing religion into the debate. Laws against euthanasia are not based upon religion but rather they are based upon murder/homicide being illegal.

We should not mess with the murder laws.

Winston said...

Spamming your own post, I see. Shame on you, Alex.

Back to the issue: the lack of prosecutions, let alone convictions, for assisted dying prove that the law must evolve to be more in line with community standards. Period.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Its a cover-up by a coterie of insiders.

The Nazi's and Winston want doctors to be able to kill their patients. When it becomes legal it is like any other medical mishap, it is covered up.

Winston said...

The Nazis did not give one whit about consent. Pro-choicers and I do. That's the fundamental difference.

How dare you portray your political opponents as equivalent to those who perpetrated genocide.

Alex Schadenberg said...

That is why euthanasia is being promoted for babies born with disabilities and people with dementia. "Its all about choice?"
Choice is the promotion campaign to killing, it is not the reality.

Winston said...

Choice and consent were never part of the Nazi's program of institutionalised murder.

And think about it - if choice was truly an illusion, no one would be able to succeed in committing suicide, now would they?

Winston said...

Says you. You assume there's no abuse going on now. There have been numerous surveys of anonymous doctors who have admitted to helping patients die. Except in the most religious theocracies, there is almost no chance of conviction (unless the helper personally profits from the patient's death).

Furthermore, by advocating a position where patients who cannot swallow food naturally (i.e. from esophageal cancer) can commit suicide by refusing a feeding tube, you are being arbitrary and hypocritical.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Choice and consent are empty slogans for people who are depressed or pressured.

They are also empty slogans for children with disabilities and people with dementia.

Winston said...

So ALL disabled individuals have impaired judgement? How condescendingly arrogant.

Furthermore, if choice was an illusion, no one would be able to succeed in committing suicide, now would they?

Alex Schadenberg said...

Winston. You amaze me with your illogical comments.

Winston said...

I guess you're out of arguments, Alex. Which is unsurprising, given that your side has lost every public debate ever given on this issue.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Its hard to argue with someone who supports killing other people. If you get your way, society will slowly, but surely eliminate its most vulnerable.

History has taught us enough about human nature. You don't give people the right in law to kill people.

Winston said...

But Alex, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland have not collapsed.

You also seem to have forgotten that the `double effect` defense does give doctors and nurses the right to kill others. It`s the perfect loophole for aspiring serial killers.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Your right, legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide is the perfect loophole for aspiring serial killers.

Winston said...

Not so, Alex. Terminal sedation/ the double effect is based on the word of the doctor or nurse who helps the patient. There is no scrutiny or oversight whatsoever.

That is the system in place now, and that is the system you tirelessly advocate to keep in place.