Patient holds cards with images of saints in her hand © Corinne Simon (KNA)
In the Australian state of Australia, a law on assisted suicide has come into force. Catholic bishops protest in the form of a pastoral letter. Criticism and rejection also comes from the medical profession.
In a pastoral letter quoted by Australian media this Wednesday, Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli and three other Victorian bishops recall Pope Francis’ strict rejection of active euthanasia for the terminally ill. One cannot "cooperate in enabling suicide even when it appears to be motivated by empathy or kindness".
Vigil in front of parliament
With a vigil in front of Parliament in Melbourne, opponents of assisted suicide reminded that criticism and rejection also come from the medical profession. Victoria’s government leader Daniel Andrews, on the other hand, on Wednesday praised the assisted suicide law as a "dignified option to end life".
The law, passed in November 2017, makes it possible for any adult suffering from a terminal illness to have their doctor prescribe a lethal drug; the prerequisite is a life expectancy of less than twelve months. In addition, doctors have the right to administer the lethal dose if the patient himself agrees to do so
Topic also in the south and west of Australia
In the past decades, more than 40 initiatives to legalize forms of euthanasia had failed in parliaments of Australian states as well as in the national parliament. After legalization in Victoria, parliaments of South Australia and Western Australia are now debating assisted suicide laws.