By Jamie O’Brien
The Coalition for the Defence of Human Life is inviting the Perth Catholic Community to join in the Care: Not Killing rally, as a means of adding their voices to oppose the introduction of physician assisted suicide.
The midday rally, to be held on Wednesday 4 September on the steps of Parliament House, Perth, will also be an opportunity to hear from medical and legal experts on the risks and impact of assisted suicide in the jurisdictions which have legalised it.
Family Voice Australia Western Australian State Director Darryl Budge, one of the campaign managers of the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life, said the issue is critical in stopping the medical system from changing doctors into killers.
“Under this proposed bill, doctors will be obliged to provide information to patients on how to access ‘voluntary assisted dying’ in Western Australia,”
Mr Budge told The Record, in an interview this week.
The Bill, Mr Budge explained, is one of the most unsafe models of voluntary euthanasia and physician assisted suicide in the world.
“It allows a doctor to steer a patient towards suicide because they are legally able to raise it as a medical treatment. This is not the case in Victoria,” he said.
“Furthermore, in the cases of a patient experiencing mental health issues, there is no obligation for a doctor to refer a patient to a mental health practitioner,” he said.
“The other reason why this bill is a concern is that patients only need two doctors to sign off on the service.
“It invites people to ‘doctor shop’; they [the doctors] don’t need to know you, or have any skill, training or experience in your medical condition, nor skill or training in palliative care. It is not a humane medical plan at all,” Mr Budge said.
Debate over the Bill, which was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 7 August 2019, comes as reports from The Australian show that Catholic health care providers offer more than 1800 hospital beds in WA – about 30 per cent of the state’s total.
Catholic groups also provide 1450 residential aged-care beds and 750 independent living units and retirement units.
Back in November 2017, Victoria became the first Australian state to pass legislation to make assisted suicide legal for the terminally ill, and the law came into effect in June 2019.
The WA Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 contains fewer safeguards than the Victorian model and, according to Mr Budge, it will result in the wrongful deaths of vulnerable Western Australians. Debate on the bill is expected to commence after August 28.
Other free events being held by The Coalition for the Defence of Human Life include a presentation from the producer of the documentary Fatal Flaws, Kevin Dunn, at Mt Pleasant Baptist Church, 497 Marimion Street, Booragoon on Wednesday 4 September at 7.30pm, and the documentary will be screened on Thursday 5 September at 7pm at Victory Life Centre, 1 Neil Street, Osborne Park.
For more information, go to www.facebook.com/CoalitionForHumanLife/Events