Statement From The Anglican Archbishop Of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier

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14th June 2008, 11:03am - Views: 466







MEDIA RELEASE

14 June 2008


STATEMENT REGARDING THE MEDICAL TREATMENT 

(PHYSICIAN ASSISTED DYING) BILL 2008

FROM DR PHILIP FREIER, 

ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE 


The Medical Treatment (Physician Assisted Dying) Bill 2008 currently before State Parliament

permits doctors to prescribe a drug to end the life of a patient who is ‘suffering intolerably

from a terminal or advanced incurable illness.’ While the desire to end the life of such a patient

is motivated by compassion, such a move represents a drastic departure from the medical

profession’s traditional ethical commitment not to end a patient's life, but to do all that is

reasonable to protect and care for the life of the patient.


Euthanasia is a complex ethical issue. In brief, the current position of the Anglican Church is

that it is committed both to the principle of the sanctity of life and the provision of the best

palliative care for the terminally ill.


In the vast majority of cases – 95 percent – pain can be managed through appropriate palliative

care and medication. In the small number of cases – five percent – where pain is only partially

alleviated our efforts must go into finding appropriate treatment and further developing

palliative care.


The Bill affects not only those who are dying, but also those who have an advanced incurable

illness. The harmful effects of such a wide scope may be profound.


The fear of being a burden is a major risk to the survival of those who are incurably ill; if

euthanasia – understood as a deliberate medical intervention to hasten death - were to become

legal then this sense of burden would greatly increase, for there would be a moral pressure to

end one’s life for the sake of others.


Legalising euthanasia in this way could also undermine the ideal and practice of providing

ongoing love and support to the terminally or incurably ill, something which is at the core of

our humanity.  



For further information contact:

Penny Mulvey on 0403 063 499











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