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9. Faith-based arguments against voluntary assisted dying: are they made in good faith?

Answer

The extreme rhetoric being used by Right to Life and other faith-based objectors – such as "patient killing' and "murder' – is designed to inflame emotions. It does not acknowledge, or address, the clear evidence of suffering happening across the Australian community in the parliamentary committees' reports.

In a 2017 visit to Victoria, sponsored by MLC Inga Peulich and Right to Life, US doctor William Toffler suggested privately to MPs that, should Voluntary Assisted Dying become legal, that it be carried out by veterinarians who have 'training in giving overdoses to living things, living animals'.

The rhetoric being used by Dr Toffler, Right to Life and others - and endorsed by some MPs - seeks to trivialise the genuine suffering and trauma being faced by Australian families.

That elderly Australians are killing themselves violently at the rate of more than one a week, according to the Victorian coroner, because there is no other way they can be legally helped to end their suffering, is a serious public health issue. It requires thoughtful and respectful debate. Opposing Voluntary Assisted Dying simply on religious grounds and with emotive language is not an answer to this suffering.