In the letter Archbishop O’Regan said it was “extremely disappointing” to learn that Premier Steven Marshall had decided to progress the VAD bill through the Lower House immediately, with a view to having it debated as quickly as possible.
“Despite the issue of euthanasia being around for many years, the bill passed by the Upper House this week has not been widely consulted on, yet it has far reaching consequences for our community,” Archbishop O’Regan wrote.
“Only this week I met with members of the medical profession and palliative care specialists who expressed serious concerns about the impact of the bill on vulnerable people and on our Catholic health care providers.
“There are other groups such as Indigenous communities and members of the disability sector who have not had an opportunity to consider this bill or to raise any concerns with their members of Parliament.
“Most places in the world have not legalised assisted suicide; to rush into such a scheme in South Australia simply because it is similar to what was introduced in Victoria would seem to be reckless to say the least.
“As I have said previously, no-one wants to see people suffer unnecessarily at any time, especially at the end of life, but the compassionate way to achieve this is through high quality, well-resourced palliative care.
“Assisted suicide undermines the fundamental principle of the equal worth of all human individuals by legally enshrining the idea that some human lives are not worth living. It legally enshrines the idea that these ‘lives-not-worth-living’ can be directly and intentionally ended with the aid and ‘blessing’ of the State.
“By making such ideas law, it gives the impression that this attitude is the proper attitude of and for our society. Such a message puts vulnerable people at risk of coercion and elder abuse.”
Archbishop O’Regan urged the faithful to contact their local MP to “express your opposition to this bill and remind them of their duty to weigh the long-term social and institutional ramifications of this law”.Jump to next article