Dying with Dignity: A Briefing Paper

Introduction

Over the next 10 years Australian society will continue to grapple with a series of complex spiritual, moral, social and legal questions about how people can be assisted to die with dignity. As progressive Christians, we have an obligation to think hard about these matters and where appropriate enter the public debate. While most Christians would agree that it is clearly good for people to be able to die with dignity, most official teaching of the churches over the last 50 years has been against voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. At the same time, many ordinary Christians and a number of theologians have argued that there is a place, with appropriate safeguards, for both voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide.

This briefing paper is designed to highlight the issues in the Australian context and particularly in relation to the Victorian Inquiry into End of Life Choices and the resulting Bill which has just come before the Victorian Parliament. It is intended to assist progressive Christians in thinking about these complex issues as legislation is proposed in each of the States or Territories in which they live.

See the full Briefing Paper here Dying with Dignity Briefing Paper

How this Briefing Paper was prepared.

This paper originated from a meeting of progressive Christians in Victoria who felt that there was a need for a public response to the proposal for death with dignity legislation being discussed in Victoria. A preliminary draft document was prepared and then approved for circulation by the Management Committee of APCVA. This document was then circulated to members and others who had expressed an interest in giving feedback. A second draft was then prepared and this document was circulated a second time for further feedback. Following feedback, a further draft was prepared and sent back to the Management Committee of APCVA who gave further feedback. A final document was then prepared and approved by the Management Committee.

The Management Committee is very thankful to its members and supporters who have helped create this important Briefing Paper.

Len Baglow

Member of the Management Committee of APCVA

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