Email received, subject line: “LifeChoice ACU Euthanasia Forum”

Email body: “Thank you for attending the event ‘Inside the Euthanasia Bill’ on Monday the 11th October. It was a great privilege to be able to hear the Honourable Kevin Connolly MP, Dr Charbel Bejjani and Monica Doumit speak so honestly and eloquently on the subject of the bill that faces NSW parliament and its implications.

Please feel free to review some key notes from each of the speakers talks attached below.

‘Inside the Euthanasia Bill’
LifeChoice ACU Strathfield and North Sydney
Key Points


● The bill includes the legalisation of Euthanasia and Voluntary Assisted Dying (Physician Assisted Suicide)
● It has always been considered a grave crime to to end a life
● There are clauses included which say it is NOT to be termed suicide
● No requirement for treating doctors to approve (can be any two physicians who are specialists or have been a GP for at least 10 years)
● No requirement for psychologist/psychiatrist to assess individual requesting euthanasia
● Any specialist or GP with over 10 years practice experience can approve — don’t have to have expertise in field of illness
○ This bill, therefore, does not provide “safeguards” as proponents might suggest
● Supposed protections for faith based operators
● The bill supposedly allows conscientious objection but… the bill does not accommodate for faith based hospitals/practices. For Example — Hospital that refuse to provide euthanasia/PAS will be mandated to provide information and/or transfer to a location where the individual can access it
● Residential aged care facilities would also be obliged to do this — even to the extent of allowing a practitioner to perform euthanasia on the premises
● Don’t underestimate the power of voicing your opposition to this bill (write to your local member, protest outside parliament etc)


● Euthanasia meaning ‘Good Death’ (from the Greek)
● Intention of euthanasia is to bring about death prematurely or purposefully, seemingly for compassionate reasons, to alleviate suffering.
● De-spiritualisation of our society → aversion to death
● Cultural, spiritual, political and social aspects involved

Reasons for euthanasia requests:
● Most common reason is loss of autonomy (based on data gathered in Oregon)
● “Tired of life”- often a cry for help NOT euthanasia
● Generally the main reasons are (in Dr Bejjani’s experience):
○ Not coping well with the change in their functional state
○ Not as functional they used to be
○ No hope of recovery
○ They find their life “unlivable”
● Not wanting to be a burden
○ On family
○ On staff
○ On resources
● Patients finding no utility in suffering and often feel useless and incapacitated in the face of their suffering
● Fear surrounding dying process

● Not just pain
● Often euthanasia and PAS is associated with pain that cannot be resolved
● The pain is not the full story
● There is a notion in palliative care called ‘total pain’
○ Involves physical, social, emotional, spiritual and mental forms of pain
● De-moralisation → a loss of sense of who you are and what your value is, different to depression as it is a lot more sudden in onset and does not share all the symptoms of depression
● Loss of sense of purpose → feeling of being useless
● Literature suggests that spirituality is a ‘protective factor’
● Spirituality is an appreciation of a world outside yourself, does not have to be any particular religion

Palliative Care:
● The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that EVERYONE should have access to a high quality of palliative care
● Palliative care (PC) is a form of patient-centred, goal oriented, holistic practice of medicine
● Involves journeying with the patient as they approach the end of their life
● String focus on all dimensions of suffering, working in a multi-disciplinary team (doctors, nurses, social workers, OT, physios)
● Palliative care is not primarily geared towards cure
● It does focus on affirming life and improving/maintaining Quality of Life
● It aims to consider death as a natural part of life
● It does not seek to hasten death, nor does it seek to prolong overly burdensome treatment
● Often patients ask for euthanasia because they fear these overly burdensome treatments
○ Palliative sedation → administering pain relief/medication to make the patient comfortable in their final moments. This is NOT with the intention of ending their life, but to ensure their comfort
● PC aims to help people with a terminal illness LIVE as best they can
● This involves not abandoning the patient
● Having that good rapport is often half the treatment

● The case of pain is paramount to many of these bills
● We tickle people’s fear without giving them good information about what is involved in the dying process
● Lack of resources, particularly in the non-physical part of suffering
● We need more social workers, volunteers, etc
● Resources have been reduced even further throughout the pandemic
● Suicide should NOT be in the scope of medical practice
● The question should really be why is the individual asking for euthanasia, not whether they should
○ This should prompt the physician to discover the depth of the iceberg and what’s really going with the patient
● Doctors conscientious objections are not accommodated

How should doctors respond to requests for euthanasia:
● Listen
● Interact with them
● Get to know who they are
● Ensure they know you are journeying with you and they are NOT a burden
● Give them a sense of certainty in a very uncertain world
● Ensure that they don’t feel abandoned
● Focus on what can be done
● Be honest with them


● Euthanasia is still illegal in most of the world
● AMA opposes euthanasia
● While death is personal, it is not private
● It affects more than just the individual involved
● The choice of one person can affect the choice of others
● Inquest into euthanasia in Victoria found that of the 49 recommendation made 39 suggested increasing funding for palliative care in Victoria
● Victoria has less than half the recommended number of palliative care physicians
● Victoria has the lowest number of palliative care specialists per capita in the country
● It is a LIE that euthanasia is really about choice, when in reality it LIMITS people’s choices
○ For example — case in Oregon where patients chemotherapy would not be covered by their medical insurance but euthanasia was
● Depression or mental illness does not disqualify anyone from euthanasia and PAS under the proposed bill in NSW
● We look at international examples to see the natural extension of these laws
● Eg Canada where euthanasia and PAS has been available for 5 years, has now been extended to anyone with a disability
○ In 2023 Canada will allow for anyone with a mental illness to euthanaise themselves
○ Euthanasia already kills 8000 people annually in Canada, this will likely increase as eligibility criteria is altered to be far broader.


● Contact your local MP. Email addresses of MPs can be found at:
● Protest outside Parliament. Sign up for a time slot outside Parliament House via the following link:
● Right to Life NSW have put together a petition against the upcoming Euthanasia Bill. To voice your opposition to these anti-life bills, you can sign the written petition which Right To Life NSW can ensure it is tabled in the Parliament:
● Pray! For all those who are religious, please pray for all those involved in this bill, that they may remember the dignity and sanctity of life, and the importance of protecting it.”



Trans ⚧️ and Anglo-catholic ✝️ | Liberal Arts student @notredameaus | phenomenologist | social media content curator | all opinions expressed here are my own

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Dana Pham

Trans ⚧️ and Anglo-catholic ✝️ | Liberal Arts student @notredameaus | phenomenologist | social media content curator | all opinions expressed here are my own