By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Editor’s note. Victoria and Queensland are states in Australia.
The legalization of euthanasia is being debated throughout Australia. Last year Victoria Australia legalized euthanasia. Similar to Canada, once euthanasia becomes legal people immediately begin to debate the expansion of the law.
Felicity Caldwell reported for The Sydney Morning Herald that Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope told the Queensland parliamentary committee that euthanasia should also be available to children as young as 12 years old. Caldwell reported:
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope said the views of mature minors about voluntary assisted dying (VAD) should be respected.
“We would define such a mature minor as a child over 12 years of age who … has a sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable him or her to understand fully what is proposed,” he said.
“However, we do recognise that children are entitled to extra protection when making their decision.”
Cope told the parliamentary committee that his position is based on the fact that 13 children have died by euthanasia in the Netherlands and 3 have died by euthanasia in Belgium.
Caldwell reported that Cope also said that he believes that doctors should be able to refuse to do euthanasia but they must refer:
Mr. Cope said medical practitioners should be able to refuse to assist people with voluntary euthanasia, but they should be required to refer the patient to another practitioner who would provide the service.
Referring for euthanasia means that the physician is complicit in the act of killing.
Queensland Australia is debating euthanasia. The government is already being pressuring to expand the scope of euthanasia to include children and to force medical practitioners to participate.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.