Earlier this year the culture of death suffered some very severe blows with the unprecedented defeat of three Abortion Law Reform Bills in Queensland and NSW. For these amazing victories we continue to thank God!
But not only does the culture of death want to claim victims at the beginning of life, it also wants to kill those approaching the end of life.
In the past year, five Australian states have tabled or are in the process of tabling Bills for the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
In October last year, we called all Australians to pray and speak out against the passage of the Death with Dignity Bill 2016 in South Australia. We were especially burdened by this situation because we felt the legalisation of euthanasia in South Australia could result in a domino effect which would legalise euthanasia in other states and territories.
But we believe God has been hearing our prayers and the culture of death is being pushed back! After a gruelling debate in the South Australian Parliament on 17 November 2016 a conscience vote was tied at 23 votes all. Then at 4:00 am the Speaker cast his vote to decide against the Bill! More recently in Tasmania on 24 May 2017 the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2016 was soundly defeated, in another conscience vote, 16 against and 8 in favour.
Now looming is the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 in Victoria. Paul Russell, the founder and Director of HOPE: No Euthanasia, shares that the Labor Government has not engaged truthfully with the Victorian people. In the 64-page report of the Victorian Ministerial Advisory Panel, set up by Premier Daniel Andrews, 'euthanasia' was only mentioned once and 'assisted suicide' only three times.
The Andrews' Government has also refused public access to the submissions to the consultation. Paul Russell asks "Why the secrecy? What is the government hiding?"
Even so, he writes "the work of keeping Australia euthanasia and assisted suicide FREE continues to build steadily and solidly in Victoria. We now understand that a Bill will be tabled in early August and debated later that month. Please support the effort and please act NOW!"
Debates are expected later in the year in New South Wales on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 and in Western Australia on a Bill yet to be drafted. An excellent historical background of euthanasia and assisted suicide in the different states can be found in this
just published by The Parliament of New South Wales Library.
The head of the Australian Medical Association, Michael Gannon, states,
"the current policy of the AMA is that doctors should not involve themselves in any treatment that has as its aim the ending of a patient's life."
In 2016, the AMA made a statement on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. It hinges on providing quality end-of-life palliative care as a
viable, humane, life-affirming option for the dying.
FamilyVoice National Director, Ashley Saunders, urges MPs "to invest in early comprehensive palliative care as the truly compassionate answer to the growing numbers of suicidal, terminally ill patients - and therefore reject assisted killing as the opposite of compassionate care."
Euthanasia and assisted suicide can indeed be made to sound compassionate and dignified, but this is largely based on myths. Legalisation would remove a key safeguard that protects our nation's most vulnerable citizens. It could make the elderly and the disabled feel they are a burden on society. Physicians would be under pressure to take part in state-sanctioned killing.
The Canberra Declaration states, "We believe that all human life, being made in the image of God, has intrinsic and equal value from conception to life's natural end. ... We will not comply with any directive that compels us to participate in or facilitate abortion ... assisted suicide, euthanasia, or any other act that involves the intentional taking of innocent human life."
Please watch this short video clip which thanks you as the Canberra Declaration community for your part in pushing back a culture of death.
We now therefore ask all Australians to -
- Please pray that Victorian MPs will be awakened to the insidious dangers of legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide so that the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 will be soundly defeated.
Yours for pushing back the culture of death,
David Rowsome & Warwick Marsh
PS We thank
God for the great response to our latest Good News Update - 'Margaret Court - A Champion for Marriage'. With more than six hundred signatures, the Canberra Declaration has now reached 73,844 signees. Pastor Margaret passes on her thanks to the Canberra Declaration community. (Please keep asking your friends to sign.)