The Push for Euthanasia in WA – Peter Abetz

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Suicide on demand

It’s fair to say Australia is being swamped by a deluge of social issues.

The steady downpour is being driven by the progressive agenda intent upon breaking down the historic Judeo-Christian pillars that support Western civilisation.

As the nation succumbs to the increasing onslaught of secular humanism based ideologies, the sacredness of life flows down the drain in an ever-increasing torrent.

One of secular humanism’s shelf categories is bookended with full-term abortions and euthanasia as other options germinate in between. 

The state of Western Australia is no exception when it comes to terminating the lives of the country’s senior citizens, or at any age for that matter.

The broad thrust of a parliamentary report in WA on end of life choices, advocates what looks close to suicide on demand.

Terminal illness or not

WA State Director of the Australian Christian lobby and a Gosnell City Councillor, Peter Abetz, who’s read this report said he was staggered by its contents.

Peter Abetz

“The idea of end of life choices that people shouldn’t have to die in agony, is the fuel driving the push for euthanasia, the recommendations are quite breath-taking.”

“They’re recommending a system whereby a person can access euthanasia or physician assisted suicide,” said Peter who described the differences between euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Euthanasia is when the doctor administers the medication. Physician assisted suicide is where the doctor prescribes a script the person can take at a point in time that suits them.

Basically people can access euthanasia without having to be terminally ill or imminent, and without the person having to be suffering any physical pain.

“It’s suicide on demand and that sends a totally wrong message to the community,” Peter stated, adding that even the Victorian legislation is more restrictive.

“Although I’m thankful that Roger Cook, the current Minister for Health in Western Australia, who’s made it clear euthanasia should only be for terminally ill people suffering in pain.”

Palliative care, zero pain

Palliative Care is also a concern for the advocates of euthanasia.

“They quote this figure that in 2 percent of cases, palliative care is unable to keep the physical pain under control.”

Peter considers the 2 percent figure to be dubious when the very best of providers have zero people where pain is not being managed well.

It really indicates that if all palliative care providers reached world’s best practice there’d be absolutely no one dying in agony or in severe pain.

“It can be controlled and there is no need for euthanasia in this day and age if good quality palliative care is available to people.”

The WA committee has recommended an expert committee be appointed to advise the government on the controls and limits placed around accessibility to euthanasia.

“That committee’s now been appointed so they’ll be reporting back to government at some point and working on conjunction with the parliamentary council to draft legislation,” Peter informed, saying the legislation’s not likely to be ready until the middle of 2019.

The slippery slope

That said it appears to bear the hallmarks of sound legislation, but is that really all there is to it? Peter Abetz doesn’t think so.

The slippery slope argument with euthanasia is to look at what’s happened in other countries that have gone down this path.

“The authorities in those countries don’t enforce the law,” Peter remarked. “Even here in the Northern Territory in 1996 when they had the euthanasia laws in place for 9 months before the federal government overturned it.”

They had four people who were euthanased and I know for a fact that two of them did not have a terminal illness.

“Even though that was a requirement under the act,” Peter said.

There was no prosecution against the doctor who provided the medication to those persons not terminally ill even though he was committing a serious offence under that act.

“It’s the same in The Netherlands, it’s the same in Oregon where they’ve had it for many years. No one gets prosecuted for violating the laws.”

Suicide? ‘We’ll help you do that’

What happens as a result, the doctors and the families involved keep pushing back the boundaries. Belgium is one case in point.

“If you’ve chronic depression in Belgium you can ask for euthanasia and it will be granted. It’s quite staggering when you think about it.”

Rather than helping a person deal with their depression they say, ‘It’s OK, you can commit suicide and we’ll help you to do that.

So, in reality it’s going to be open slather with no enforcement of the laws.

The official Dutch Health Department bears this out in its annual report.

“They say that over a thousand people have been euthanased in The Netherlands who suffer from dementia without them asking for it.”

There, the family or the doctors have taken it upon themselves to euthanase a person because they determine their quality of life is such that their lives are not worth continuing.

Disabled? ‘You can die too’

The issue also extends to disabilities. Peter gave examples of disabled people who no longer want to keep living as their disability worsens and they become quadriplegic.

“What does that say for other quadriplegics? Your life isn’t really worth living?”

Peter affirmed we should be encouraging them to make the most of their lives, not terminate them.

It really undermines the whole sanctity of human life.

Another issue affecting quality of life has surfaced in the form of elder abuse, WA included where a report was handed down addressing the matter.

Nick Guerin argues very strongly against euthanasia because he says elder abuse is such a major problem and that it’s simply impossible to put sufficient protection into legislation to prevent vulnerable elderly people being manipulated and perhaps coerced into accessing physician assisted suicide or euthanasia.

The privilege for others to serve

“When you think in terms of Oregon, where they’ve had euthanasia for over 20 years the highest reason why elderly people want euthanasia, 73 percent put as the number 1 issue, ‘I am being a burden to my family’ and only around 20 percent mention pain.”

What Peter has observed is the very fact that euthanasia is available puts a subtle pressure on a person to seriously consider accessing it.

“The reality is that when you come to the end of your life you are being a burden. But that is part of the privilege the others have of actually serving you as you have served others in the course of your life.”

Footnote

Peter Abetz is an Australian former politician who was a Liberal member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 2008 to 2017, representing Southern River.

In late 2017 Peter was appointed as the WA State Director for the Australian Christian Lobby.  He’s raised concerns regarding surrogacy and specifically the deprivation for children of a mother or father.

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