A rally to celebrate the first anniversary of the death of a euthanasia campaigner who took her own life has raised objections from the Roman Catholic Church.
Labor, Liberal and Democrat politicians will come together at Parliament House in Adelaide in support of a rally organised by the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES).
It comes a year to the day after Shirley Nolan, who suffered with Parkinson’s disease for 25 years, took her own life.
“It is a source of deep shame that our present law prohibiting choice for voluntary euthanasia effectively forced Shirley to take her own life as the only means of escape from her intolerable suffering,” said euthanasia society president Frances Coombe.
So shame is now not stepping in to kill someone so they don’t have to kill themselves. It is sad enough that there are those who desire to kill themselves, but to demand that the government step in and provide people to kill you is much worse.
“What a cruel and tragic irony that the law perpetuated Shirley’s suffering when she had devoted more than 25 years to alleviate the suffering of thousands of people around the world as founder of the world’s first bone marrow donor register.”
But Catholic priest and the director of the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, John Fleming, said the rally was misguided and insensitive.
“It is misguided because Ms Nolan’s death was not a case of euthanasia where one person kills another, but a case of self-killing,” Dr Fleming said.
I must have misread or read too much into this last statement. It sounded like it would have been okay if it was euthanasia instead of suicide.
“It is insensitive because the decision of some politicians to celebrate her death by speaking at a political rally sends a clear message to the community as a whole, including young people, that suicide is somehow OK.”