Euthanasia: not the way to die in the Northern Territory

Euthanasia: not the way to die in the Northern Territory

5 July 2022
Signatures: 204Next goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Petition against proposals to legalise active voluntary euthanasia in the Northern Territory addressed to all NT political decision makers.

Organised by the NT Catholic Medical Association (NT CMA).

Supported by NT CMA-associated health professionals and also seeking support from any Northern Territory residents who share our views.

By active voluntary euthanasia we mean the medically assisted administration or self-administration of medically prescribed lethal medications with the deliberate intent to cause death on patient's request. We will apply this definition to the term "euthanasia" from here on for the sake of simplicity.

Our official, thorough and referenced petition document can be downloaded at:

Here is a short summary of our arguments.

As an association of Catholic NT-based health workers we fully oppose the re-introduction of euthanasia in the NT on the basis of multiple medical, ethical, social and religious concerns.

Medical concerns:

  1. Clinical evidence is demonstrating that euthanasia is a sub-standard approach to managing the suffering of terminal illness, with high quality holistic palliative care delivering superior overall outcomes, including the management of "refractory pain" through palliative sedation.
  2. Euthanasia will erode the bond of trust at the core of the patient-physician relationship - especially with Aboriginal patients - and also cause a professional identity shift in current and future health professionals: from "life-savers" to "on-demand death givers".
  3. Euthanasia will further restrict NT health workers' rights of conscientious objection - potentially by introducing a referral duty - and force them to violate their own professional oaths.

Ethical concerns:

  1. Legalised euthanasia teaches the public an objectively false principle of absolute and unlimited autonomy. We highly value the Australian and Catholic principle of individual autonomy. However, we believe that choosing to end one's own life is not merely an individual's choice, but rather a decision involving multiple other parties and leading to many human and societal harmful consequences.
  2. We believe that committing suicide in a medicalised fashion is not morally different from committing suicide by other means. It would be contradictory for our Territory to campaign against suicide, enforce mental health involuntary hospital admission laws to prevent suicides and then allow medically assisted suicides.

Social concerns:

  1. Euthanasia presents an objectively confirmed "slippery slope" risk, whereby initially narrow eligibility criteria are then inevitably broadened to include more vulnerable candidates such as mentally ill, socially disenfranchised and paediatric patients.
  2. There is a very high risk of vulnerable, demoralised and often elderly patients being pressured into choosing euthanasia. Euthanasia may even be presented as the "morally generous" choice to be made to no longer be "burdens" for one's family and society.
  3. Euthanasia is a "cheap and dirty" alternative to palliative care for the government. Palliative care can be expensive, euthanasia is cheap and saves Medicare expenditure.

Religious concerns:

  1. Euthanasia fails to address deep-seated existential, spiritual and religious issues that inevitably emerge in patients who are approaching death. Spiritual care is often required, especially for patients who believe in life after death and in the impact of their actions on their eternal destiny.
  2. A substantial minority (40.5%) of the NT population identifies as Christians, and 1.4% as Muslims. Both religions consider euthanasia as morally unacceptable.
  3. Christians and Catholics do not seek suffering. However, when encountered, suffering can take on a redemptive value as a loving sacrifice offered to God and other fellow human beings from a Catholic and Christian perspective. Politicians should not just assume that all people believe suffering is meaningless.
  4. For Christians and Catholics as well as for people of other faiths taking one's own life is an insult to the God of life who created us

Lastly, when deciding whether or not to support our cause, remember that one day you may happen to be one of those vulnerable and no longer productive members of society that the government may very well prefer to euthanise.

If wishing to sign the petition please consider the following:

  1. Your email address will be kept confidential by
  2. Please specify your geographical location. This is an NT issue and the opinion of Territorians is primarily being sought.
  3. If comfortable, please specify your occupation, especially if it is health related, as this will add extra value to your support when presented to politicians.

Thank you in advance for your support,

NT Catholic Medical Association


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Signatures: 204Next goal: 500
Support now