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Archbishop calls SA euthanasia bill a threat to law

Attempts to legalise voluntary euthanasia in South Australia threaten to undermine one of the foundations of the legal system - the protection of society's most vulnerable from being killed, Adelaide's Archbishop Leonard Faulkner has warned.

The Southern Cross reports that Archbishop Faulkner praised the SA parliament for its record in the field of palliative care for the terminally ill and its opposition to euthanasia legislation.

But it says he also questioned the validity of "ambiguous" techniques in public opinion polls showing support for euthanasia, when the majority of people surveyed may not be aware of the state's palliative care laws that already provided for pain relief and care for the terminally ill.

Archbishop Faulkner said the implications of the voluntary euthanasia law now before state parliament went beyond the considerable moral and ethical concerns to a fundamental legal question. "Our system of law is designed to protect the most vulnerable - the infirm, the aged, the impressionable, the lonely, the handicapped, the mentally ill - from being killed," the archbishop said.

"This is an indispensable building block of our legal system. To change this in any way will undermine this essential legal protection, creating the very real risk that the most vulnerable in our society will be killed."

Southern Cross