On Thursday 8th March Rob Van der Linde (ARPA Chairman) and Laurence Van der Plas (ARPA Research Officer) gave evidence to the WA Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices. The 50-minute hearing took place in the Legislative Assembly Committee Rooms. After a ten-minute opening statement in which ARPA was able to explain the Christian arguments against euthanasia, ARPA representatives were questioned by the eight-member committee.
Questions tended to focus on specific end-of-life scenarios, which ARPA acknowledged could be complex but were still subject to the Biblical principle that acts should not be permitted which had, as their primary aim, the termination of life. ARPA was able to elaborate on our recommendation that the worst-case scenario under assisted suicide (i.e. a wrongful or unnecessary death) was far more unconscionable than the worst case scenario under the current framework, a painful death. Although the discussion was polite and friendly, the underlying message in some questions was concerning, particularly a concluding question which asked how a large part of the community could expect to be protected from religious views in any end of life legislation.
A transcript of ARPA’s evidence has been published on Parliament’s website, as well as the video. ARPA thanks supporters for the many prayers and words of encouragement that were received and encourages continued prayer for this committee, that it may not recommend legalised assisted suicide in Western Australia. A similar ‘end of life choices’ inquiry is now also underway in the ACT.