Unlike dying kangaroos, dying humans are given pain relief
Last night (17 October) on Radio 891 ABC Adelaide, host Peter Goers moderated a debate on euthanasia between SA MP Steph Key and FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips.
Mr Goers began by observing that if our car accidentally hits a kangaroo, we pick up a rock to put it out of its misery. “Why can’t we do the same for people who are suffering unbearable pain?” he asked.
Steph Key, whose Voluntary Euthanasia Bill is due for its second reading vote on Thursday, agreed. But Ros Phillips said she was “so glad that you’re not a kangaroo, Peter!”
She continued: “If you were bounding across a road and bumped into my car, I wouldn’t want to kill you!” She said there is very good pain relief and palliative care available these days, and hopefully his injuries could be healed.
Peter Goers supports the Voluntary Euthanasia Bill, but he confessed to Steph Key that he has problems with the bill’s provision for terminal patients to be given a prescription for a lethal drug to take at home for use at some future time.
Steph Key agreed that this provision could be abused – but implied that stakeholders wanted it, so it is still in the bill despite the 13 pages of amendments dealing with other problems that she circulated to all lower house MPs late last week.
Ros Phillips mentioned the serious concerns of the life insurance industry. The bill would require doctors to lie on a euthanased patient’s death certificate – to say that the death was caused, not by assisted suicide, but the patient’s physical illness. This clause would enable a person to take out or increase the insurance on their life, then use assisted suicide to end it soon afterwards with the intention of enriching their family.
Ros Phillips also mentioned serious concerns of groups representing disabled people who strongly oppose the bill. They believe legal euthanasia would encourage doctors to pressure them to prematurely end their lives.
The 13 pages of amendments circulated at the last minute means there will be little time for MPs to digest their implications before Thursday’s vote. “This bill is a schemozzle,” Ros Phillips says. “It should be withdrawn!”
- Human life and dignity