Blogs

Posted on Thursday 22nd June 2017 at 1:05am

The Catholic Church fundamentally flip-flops on its position between assisted dying and refusing life-saving medical treatment, regarding theoretical risks for ‘the vulnerable.’

The Catholic Church in Australia is reeling from revelations at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, of a shocking number of cases that have occurred under its ‘pastoral umbrella.’ Yet it presumes to tell the rest of us about the hypothetical moral dangers of assisted dying laws for ‘the vulnerable.’

To add insult to injury, it flip-flops on its stance.

Never mind that the argument is contradicted by evidence

The Church’s favourite argument — already contradicted by scholarly analysis that curiously seems to be of no interest to the Church — is this: if people are given the choice of assisted dying, they will feel compelled to choose it, coerced by doctors, greedy relatives or others; subtly or otherwise.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flip-flop | Faith | Australia | USA | Catholic Church | Paul Russell | Religion | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Wednesday 21st June 2017 at 3:14am

More empirical evidence from the Netherlands contradicts Professor Margaret Somerville’s ‘suicide contagion from assisted dying’ theory.

I’ve previously published an extensive analysis of how Professor Margaret Somerville, of the Catholic Notre Dame University of Australia, cherry-picked her way through select data that seemed to be (but wasn’t) consistent with her ‘contagion’ theory from assisted dying to the general suicide rate. I provided ample evidence from lawful jurisdictions that comprehensively contradicts her claim. I also published the summary in ABC Religion & Ethics.

Yet Somerville still says despite extensive real-world experience to the contrary, that “I believe that my [suicide contagion] statement will prove to be correct.”

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Netherlands | Margaret Somerville | Catholic | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: Suicide

 

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Posted on Tuesday 20th June 2017 at 9:23pm

New university research from Germany continues to evidentially clobber Margaret Somerville’s claim about fearful Dutch elderly going to Germany for aged and health care.

I’ve criticised Catholic ethicist Professor Margaret Somerville in the past for promoting misinformation about assisted dying. One of her favourite stories is about supposed non-voluntary euthanasia (NVE) ‘contagion’ from voluntary euthanasia laws.

NVE is where a doctor deliberately hastens the death of a patient without a current explicit request from the patient.

Somerville claims that elderly Dutch citizens fear NVE — a slippery slope claim previously promoted by the Vatican. She stated that:

Keywords: Fiction | Assisted dying (AD) | Germany | Margaret Somerville | Catholic | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Tuesday 13th June 2017 at 2:38am

Religious crusaders against assisted dying are attempting to misinform the Victorian campaign again, this time by trying to scare politicians.

Both the Herald Sun and The Age reported last week that religious anti-assisted dying crusaders are running a 'gloves off' campaign in Victoria.

Religious forces are gathering once again to attempt to thwart the views of the great majority of Victorians in favour of assisted dying law reform.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Faith | Australia | Victoria | Paul Russell | Religion | Statistics | Rhetoric

 

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Posted on Wednesday 19th April 2017 at 1:39am

Xavier Symons defends fellow Catholic, Margaret Somerville, against a 'bullshit' call on national TV, and spreads a bit of his own in the process.

Last week, Mr Xavier Symons published a defence of Professor Margaret Somerville, whose arguments against assisted dying were called ‘bullshit’ by Patricia Flowers on the ABC’s Q&A program. Symons and Somerville are colleagues at the Institute for Ethics and Society at the Catholic Notre Dame University of Australia.

Mr Symons made an important point: that a law about restricted self-choice for assisted dying is in no way comparable to the Nazi Germany euthanasia (or more correctly, eugenics) programme. While Prof. Somerville agrees that such comparisons are invalid, she nevertheless often mentions Nazi Germany as a ‘question’ when debating assisted dying. That’s a bit of a fudge.

Keywords: Fudge | Fiction | Australia | Margaret Somerville | Catholic | Claim response | Rhetoric: Slippery slope

 

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Posted on Sunday 19th March 2017 at 11:37pm

A recently published scientific study shows that the USA states of Oregon and Washington, which legalised assisted dying in 1997 and 2008 respectively, have leading indicators for end of life choices, including home hospice care.

A scientific study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that residents of both Oregon and Washington states, which legalised assisted dying in 1997 and 2008 respectively—as well as establishing formal advance directive programs—are far more likely to experience the kind of death they prefer, and with better access to palliative care, than is the average USA resident.1

It's well-established that most westerners would prefer to die peacefully at home rather than in a medicalised or other institutional setting. Yet it is recognised by doctors and families alike that there is a kind of medical ‘conveyer belt’ to acute care at the end of life that tends to shunt the dying individual through to ICU—a place where more and more burdensome medical interventions are administered with less and less likelihood that they’ll actually provide any benefit.

Keywords: USA | Oregon | Washington (state) | Analysis | Article review

 

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Posted on Sunday 5th March 2017 at 10:24pm

Catholic Canadian anti-euthanasia blogger Alex Schadenberg is at it again, this time spreading shrill misinformation about a potential Oregon law change.

Catholic Canadian anti-assisted-dying blogger Alex Schadenberg is at it again. This time he’s parading his ignorance and spreading bull about a potential change in Oregon’s assisted dying legislation.

The Bill

Mr Schadenberg correctly reproduced Section 3 of Oregon Senate Bill 893, which states:

SECTION 3. An expressly identified agent may collect medications dispensed under ORS 127.815 (1)(L)(B)(ii) and administer the medications to the patient in the manner prescribed by the attending physician if:

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | USA | Oregon | Paul Russell | Alex Schadenberg | Catholic | Legislative reform | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Saturday 11th February 2017 at 1:02am

More clear proof of the religious foundations of opposition to assisted dying could not have been made but by the international body for palliative care in response to my previous post.

In response to my previous post about the religious basis of organised opposition to assisted dying, Dr Katherine Pettus, Advocacy and Human Rights Officer at the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC), tweeted:

Twitter “#Catholic church @Pontifex believes all life is sacred&supports #PalliativeCare and use of strong #pain medicines” — Dr Katherine Pettus


Keywords: Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Physician-assisted dying (PAD) | Australia | USA | EAPC | IAHPC | Catholic | Lobbying: Opponents | Rhetoric: Palliative care can always help

 

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Posted on Thursday 9th February 2017 at 9:53pm

There’s overwhelming evidence that it’s religious conservatives who oppose your right to choose an assisted death, despite their protestations that their opposition is nothing to do with religion.

antiassisteddyingadtheageheraldsun14jun08.gif


You only have to look to understand who is campaigning against your right to choose an assisted death in the face of intolerable and unrelievable suffering.

A case in point is a massive advertisement published in both of Melbourne’s daily newspapers: News Corp’s The Herald Sun (right-wing) and Fairfax Media’s The Age (left-wing). The ad was published in 2008 when Victorian MLC Colleen Hartland introduced the Medical Treatment (Physician Assisted Dying) Bill into the State legislature.


Keywords: Faith | Physician-assisted dying (PAD) | Voluntary euthanasia (VE) | Australia | Victoria | Religion | Jewish | Christian | Anglican/Church of England/Episcopal | Catholic | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Friday 2nd December 2016 at 5:34pm

The AMA executive has just concluded an ‘update’ of its policy on assisted dying, confirming its dinosaur status: Its stance against assisted dying hasn’t changed and it utterly fails to represent the diversity of views amongst Australian doctors.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) executive (policy group) recently concluded a major review of its official policy on assisted dying. The last major review was in 2007. Through a deeply flawed process the AMA executive continues to expressly disrespect the diversity of views amongst Australian doctors — a diversity confirmed by its own review — and hasn’t altered its opposition to assisted dying in any meaningful way.

Unrepresentative of Australian doctors


Keywords: Australia | Australian Medical Association (AMA) | Rhetoric: Hippocratic oath | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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19th June 2016 09:03pm 0

Canadian Parliament passes assisted dying law

The Canadian Parliament has passed a law that allows the terminally ill to choose assisted dying in restricted circumstances.