The campaign for assisted dying in Australia has intensified, with pro-euthanasia lobbyists enlisting the support of terminally ill patients seeking to end their lives.
The Australian testimonies, which echo the intervention of brain cancer victim Brittany Maynard into the Californian debate, have become central feature of a renewed push for legislative change in the country.
Pro-euthanasia lobby group Go Gentle Australia recently published a book of 72 testimonies of friends and relatives of terminally ill patients, as well as terminally ill patients themselves. Australian current affairs program 60 Minutes this week aired a segment telling the story of Kylie Monaghan, a 35 year old brain cancer victim seeking to end her life.
In an article published in The Australian earlier this month, journalist Paul Kelly offered an alternative perspective. Euthanasia, Kelly suggested, is a “social risk” to Australia:
“If you love your parents, respect your children, care for your society and think compassionately about your world then it is time to open your heart and brain to what happens when a jurisdiction legalises killing or, as it is called, euthanasia.”
In the 19th Century a statue of Tanonius Marcellinus, consul of Campania (now the region around Naples) was unearthed in the town of Benevento. It bore a remarkable inscription, one which may be unique in the history of Western Civilization. It described him as a “most worthy patron, on account of the good deeds which rescued the population from endless boredom”.
Boredom -- taedium in Latin -- will soon be a reason to be euthanised in the Netherlands, as we report below. Of course it won’t be a spur of the moment decision. There will be a bit of boring paperwork to fill out first and some boring interviews to be endured, but in the end you get your needle.
It’s hard to understand why Dutch politicians think that this is a good thing. The worthy consul Tanonius Marcellinus was memorialized for rescuing his people from boredom with good deeds, not with lethal injections. Isn’t that the proper role of governments: to foster a society in which people feel glad to be alive?
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