Catholic service providers’ joint statement on Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019
Catholic Service Providers Joint Statement on Assisted Dying in Western Australia
21 August 2019
Catholic providers of health and aged care, community and disability services in Western Australia abide by State laws that prohibit one person ending or assisting to end the life of another.
Our values are based on the belief that every person is inherently valuable and should be cared for from conception to natural death. We don’t believe helping someone to end their life, directly and intentionally, can ever be an expression of genuine care for them.
We don’t hold this position alone. When it comes to the clinical risks and uncertainties of euthanasia and assisted suicide we stand with the majority of medical practitioners, as well as the World Medical Association and the Australian Medical Association.
Our long history of accompaniment and non-abandonment shows that we recognise and respond well to the pain and suffering of others, especially the frail, the infirm, the sick and the dying.
Particularly at times of vulnerability, each person has the right to be surrounded with love and respect. Each life matters simply by being human, which resists definition by illness, age or ability.
Excellent palliative care that neither hastens nor delays death is the best mitigation of subtle pressures which deem some lives to be less worthy.
- We affirm every person’s right to refuse futile or burdensome treatment, and to accept the inevitability of death while seeking neither to hasten nor postpone it.
- We have been and continue to be committed to researching, developing and delivering excellence in palliative care.
- We call on the WA Government as a matter of urgency to provide equal access to palliative care to all West Australians but especially to marginalised groups: Aboriginal peoples, the elderly, people with disabilities, those identifying as LGBTIQ+, culturally and linguistically diverse peoples, refugees, and those in remote, regional and rural locations.
- We stand in solidarity with doctors concerned that euthanasia or assisted suicide legislation will disrupt doctor/patient relationships and create ethical dilemmas for many involved in caring professions.
- We recommit ourselves to educate and form health care professionals to better serve the frail, the infirm, the sick and the dying, and to offer excellence in care for all West Australians.
Prof Stephen Cornelissen Group CEO, Mercy Health
Dr Shane Kelly Group CEO, St John of God Health Care
Mother Angela Little Sisters of the Poor
Marina Re CEO, IdentityWA
Dr Michael Shanahan Chair, Catholic Doctors’ Association
Anthony Smith CEO, MercyCare
Lee Hare CEO, Mount La Verna Retirement Village
Errol Turner CEO, Southern Cross Care
Paul Andrew CEO, Catholic Homes Inc
Tracey Chapman Manager, Nazareth House
Rev Dr Joseph Parkinson Director, L J Goody Bioethics Centre
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