|Ethics||LAW HAS LITTLE POWER OVER MERCY KILLING: THEOLOGIAN|
A US moral theologian visiting Australia has warned that euthanasia cannot be safely legislated. Speaking at Brisbane's Mater Hospital, Fr James Keenan SJ said those opposing euthanasia had valid fears that the incompetent, depressed, disabled or otherwise vulnerable would be protecgted from laws permitting physician assisted suicide (PAS).
He backed up his contention with evidence from the US, and said experience in the Netherlands was also important for the debate here.
"In 1984 the Netherlands' highest court struck down the criminal conviction of a physician who performed PAS. Subsequently the courts and the Royal Dutch Medical Society articulated strict guidelines for providing PAS. But the Remmelink [Government] Report acknowledged that none of the guidelines 'are presently holding'," he explained.
Fr Keenan was skeptical about protective laws, believing that "their only benefit will be to protect the doctors using these practices".
Catholic Leader 12:17pm 18/6/99