The Anglican Church of Australia’s General Synod has unanimously denounced efforts by the governments of Victoria and New South Wales to legalize physician-assisted dying.
The Melbourne Anglican reported that the synod heard testimony from Dr. Denise Cooper-Clarke, who told the gathering that assisted dying is not as compassionate as some assume.
“Many people support assisted dying because they believe it is a compassionate response to suffering,” she said. “But how is it compassionate to agree with someone who is so distressed that they wish to end their life, that yes, their life is not worth living, and yes, they would be better off dead?
“How is that more compassionate than getting alongside them and providing the best care and support so that they are able to find hope and meaning and even joy in the life that is left to them?”
Cooper-Clarke, who moved the resolution calling on Anglicans to contact members of Parliament about the measures, also cited statistics from the Netherlands. There, physician-assisted dying, also called physician-assisted suicide, accounts for 4 percent of all deaths.
Sydney Anglicans reported that Dr. Karin Sowada of Sydney also spoke in favor of the resolution. She cited short-lived legalization of the procedure in Australia’s Northern Territory and said other efforts have since failed because it is not possible to legislate safeguards against abuse.
“They have realized that what starts as a well-intentioned means to relieve the pain and suffering of the terminally ill gradually socializes the idea of an early exit in the wider community. More importantly, they see that as euthanasia gathers acceptance, the boundaries of the law expand to embrace other reasons for assisted dying.”