The Catholic Weekly 29 August 2021

$2 FORMER PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has urged Catho- lics to write to their local state MPs, warning proposed eu- thanasia laws in NSW would fundamentally undermine the relationship between doc- tors and patients by legitimis- ing doctor-assisted suicide in the state. Mr Abbott was speaking to an online forum of over 100 mainly university students on 20 August, alongside the Di- rector of the Plunkett Centre for Bioethics at the Australian Catholic University, Dr Berna- dette Tobin. State Independent MP, Alex Greenwich has put forward plans to introduce a Volun- tary Assisted Dying Bill which would allow for two doctors to approve a euthanasia pro- cedure with no mandatory psychological assessment necessary. Under the proposed bill, the two doctors do not need to be independent of each other and they don’t need to even meet and examine the patient in-person. They can effective- ly sign-off on a patient’s death via telehealth. Mr Abbott believes the bill is fundamentally flawed and directly contradicts sound ethical principles in health- care. “It would turn doctors from healers into killers and that would a tragedy for the medical profession and a diminution of our society. It legitimizes suicide. We should remember that state and fed- eral governments spend hun- dreds of millions of dollars each year on mental health programs, essentially to stop us from getting to the point where we feel our lives are worthless and pointless”, the former Liberal Prime Minister explained. “What we’re doing with this legislation should it pass is that we’re saying that sui- cide is not just okay, but that if you’re feeling that life has be- come intolerable- suicide can effectively be given to you by your doctor”. Dr Tobin believes support- ers of the new laws are using euphemistic language, such as the term ‘voluntary assisted dying,’ to manipulate the pub- lic debate at this time. And others adopt the euphemisms because they confuse suicide with the tragic circumstanc- es in which it generally takes place. “This debate is not about assisting people to die in com- fort and with dignity. That’s what a good doctor does, or should do, at the end of an- yone’s life. And it’s perfectly legal,’ Dr Tobin told the online forum. “Advocates of this law know that euphemistic language has great persuasive value. But society has a duty to pro- tect vulnerable people and bad consequences will follow from the widespread accept- ance of medical killing. For it violates the special relation- ship between the doctor and the patient”. “All lives are of equal in- trinsic value. The most funda- mental way of respecting the equal worth of every human life is to refuse to violate any life. even if the life is one’s own”, Dr Tobin added. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 Former PM’s warning Tony Abbott joins leading ethicist to issue stark warning against NSW’s assisted suicide laws ¾ Michael Kenny 29, August, 2021 A STING OPERATION THAT CAME APART P3 COMPLYING WITH current NSWhealthorders to stayhome is impossible when you don’t have one. The current situation is therefore leaving Sydney’s rough sleepers at greater risk of contracting COVID. So St Vincent’s Hospital is looking after our most vulnera- ble members of the community by taking vaccinations to the streets. Carrying on the charism of the founders of the hospital, the Sisters of Charity, the Vax Van has administered more than 4000 vaccines to the home- less or those living in boarding houses or temporary accom- modation. Incident Response and Dis- aster Manager at St Vincent’s Hospital, Danielle Austin, has been operating out of the Vax Van for the past 18 months and said ironically it was “the invis- ible people in our community who were the first to answer the call to get vaccinated”. She said if you provide the opportunity to be vaccinated theywill come. “I guess they were the first to come forward because they just knew if it got in their communi- ty theywould all get it,” she said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ¾ Debbie Cramsie Vinnies jabs help keep Covid at bay It would turn doctors from healers into killers and that would be a tragedy for the medical profession and a diminu- tion of our society.” Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott SELLING WOMEN AND GIRLS IN VICTORIA P12 Rolling up sleeves to help … a St Vincent’s Hospital worker vaccinates a rough sleeper at the Matthew Talbot Hostel inWoolloomooloo. PHOTO: KATE GERAGHTY