The following post is by Paul Russell of Hope Australia on his blog at the Noeuthanasia.org.au website. Paul Russell presents compelling arguments as to why the introduction of euthanasia in Tasmania (the so called ‘Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill’) would set an extremely dangerous precedent. Right to Life highly recommends reading the full post.
Recently Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings MP, in response to a tweet from a colleague about the problems with euthanasia in jurisdictions where it is legal replied: “Interesting that democracies from Oregon to Switzerland with Voluntary Assisted Dying have not gone back and overturned their laws – why?”
That’s a very worthwhile question. Note well, of course, that none of the jurisdictions where either assisted suicide or euthanasia is legal call it ‘voluntary assisted dying’, but we get the point.
The aphorism that ‘what is legal is moral’ springs immediately to mind. Morality here refers to the reality of the law; that our laws do legislate for morality and, like it or not, judgments are made by politicians every day that have some connection to the ‘right or the wrong’ of an issue. The euthanasia debate is no different with both sides arguing from a perspective that includes an appeal to morals at some level.
Those who support and campaign for euthanasia clearly believe that there is a ‘good end’ (no pun intended) or, in other words, a benefit to society. Benefits or ‘goods’ have a moral character. ‘What is legal is moral’ refers to the effect that any Positive Law has on the understanding of the issue legislated for in the minds and hearts of citizens’ overtime.
I’m reminded of a comment Philip Nitschke made at one of the debates we’ve had in respect to the Dutch where he said that he felt that they were quite wedded to their euthanasia legislation. And I think he’s right. But, like the Premier, it makes sense to ask, why?