ADELAIDE, Australia, May 23, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the South Australian Parliament resumed sitting following the March election, Labor MP and Member for the Taylor electorate in Adelaide’s north, Leesa Vlahos MP, has raised a motion in the House of Assembly condemning the practice of child euthanasia and affirming palliative care and suicide prevention.
Leesa Vlahos told LifeSiteNews that: “In my four years in Parliament, the frequency of attempts to introduce euthanasia have been increasing.”
“I wanted to bring to my colleagues attention the rapid liberalization of euthanasia laws elsewhere in the globe, particularly the shockingly poor judgement of the Belgian Parliament by passing child euthanasia laws in February this year for terminally ill children,” she said.
The South Australian Parliament has seen a procession of euthanasia bills in recent years, including the most recent one that MP Bob Such admitted to LifeSiteNews had no chance of passing.
In speaking to her motion in the chamber on Thursday, Mrs. Vlahos pointed out the ill-fitting nature of allowing children to make the decision to die.
“It is well known that the neurophysiology of a child's brain does not in fact settle, or the wiring become hardened, until most people, particularly males, are in their mid-20s, around the age of 25 or 26,” she said. “It is interesting to think that children are unlikely to be cognisant of the gravity of the irreversibility of the decision for euthanasia, especially those who are enduring a terminal illness.”
“By virtue of their age, they are unable to decide to drive, to vote, to marry, or to consume alcohol legally, in recognition of the reality of the maturity of self-determination and that such actions are the result of neurophysiology,” she said.
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This motion follows closely upon a similar motion in the West Australian Parliament by Upper House member, Nick Goiran MLC, in April.
“We must focus on high quality palliative for all patients for all ages, from neonates to the frail and elderly,” Vlahos said. “In a modern, Westernized countries such as Belgium or Australia, the idea of treating intractable pain for terminal illnesses with children by euthanasia is abhorrent, when high quality palliative care should be the ultimate goal for our physicians, families and our society.”
Paul Russell, director of HOPE: preventing euthanasia & assisted suicide in Australia in thanking Vlahos and Goiran for their efforts said that it is important that legislators understand the broader picture on euthanasia and how incremental extension, as evidenced with child euthanasia in Belgium, is unavoidable once some level if legalization has been achieved.
The pro-euthanasia movement in Australia has historically been pro-active in asserting that the feared “slippery slope” does not exist, yet has remained silent on the recent matter of child euthanasia in Belgium. Similarly, normally pro-euthanasia members of parliament have had difficulty in speaking against these motions.
Speaking at the Cherish Life conference in Brisbane last week, Russell also observed that the child euthanasia issue is a tricky one for pro-euthanasia and pro-assisted suicide groups. He told the conference that he had only been able to find commentary from three pro-euthanasia activists anywhere in the world, with only one condemning Belgium’s new law. “The rest stand condemned by their silence and, even though most groups express their aims in terms of a limited mandate, their silence betrays their larger agenda,” he said.
As Nick Goiran MLC observed in closing his speech: “This is a cult of suicide and death that I want no part of. In response to the challenges of suffering and despair there is always a better way than killing.”
The debate on Mrs. Vlahos’ motion will continue in the South Australian Parliament in coming weeks.