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Passage of Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021

On Thursday 16th September 2021, the Queensland Labor Government passed legislation which  legalised both assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. The legislation is entitled the "Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021" and will take effect on 1st January 2023.

The passage of this Act represents a parting of the ways in Queensland from a medical system that strove to support the dying but did not attempt to pre-empt the natural event of dying to one that facilitates the taking of life by the patient him/herself or by involving a medical practitioner or nursing practitioner to perform the action. Not only does the state permit its citizens to take their own lives, it is also dangerous because it can lead to wrongful deaths by several ways. It can involve people who would have wrongfully accessed assisted suicide because of a wrong diagnosis, a wrong prognosis, or suffer coercion, elder abuse, untreated mental anguish, or because they had little or no access to palliative care specialists and felt they had no other choice.

There are also grave concerns that there will be an increase in non-assisted suicide rates because of a suicide cognation effect that often accompanies euthanasia or assisted suicide being legalised.

Aspects of the Act include: 

  1. Queenslanders with a 12 month prognosis who are over 18 years old would be eligible for euthanasia or assisted suicide, upon the approval of two doctors who don’t have to be specialists. Nor is there a requirement for the patient to be examined by a specialist at any stage of their illness.

  2. The two approving doctors can be junior General Practitioners with little or no specialised training in end-of-life management. (Palliative care specialists train for at least four years full-time after graduating with a medical degree.)

  3. Doctors with a conscientious objection to euthanasia or assisted suicide would be forced to refer patients for it, and therefore be complicit in the outcome of a patient killed.

  4. Health institutions whose charter is opposed to euthanasia (e.g. Catholic Health Australia and UnitingCare as well as many others) would be compelled to refer patients who qualify for euthanasia or assisted suicide upon request. In the case where the patient is a permanent resident of a facility, like an aged care home for example, the institution would be forced to let the assisted suicide or euthanasia take place on the premises by an outside doctor coming in to kill the patient or the poison being delivered to the facility. 

  5. No mental health checks. There is no requirement for those requesting assisted suicide to be assessed by a mental health expert like a psychiatrist, yet mental anguish and depression is often one of the main drivers for requests for euthanasia, as data from other jurisdictions shows. 

  6. No requirement to be seen by a specialist in the area of the patient’s suffering, e.g. an oncologist for cancer patients. 

  7. No requirement for a patient to be seen by a palliative care specialist. 

  8. Inequitable access to euthanasia and palliative care. If passed, this law would allow people with a 12 month prognosis to access euthanasia straight away, but they may not be able to access palliative care until a few weeks or a few months before the end of life (and in some cases in regional Queensland they may have no access to palliative care at all). Very concerningly, when Western Australia passed its assisted suicide legislation, an amendment to the Bill which would have given regional WA the same access to palliative care as assisted suicide was voted down. 

  9. The deceptive language in the Bill - even the term “voluntary assisted dying” makes it sound like people are accessing palliative care when in fact it is euthanasia or assisted suicide. 

  10. The Bill allows people with a prognosis of 12 months to access assisted suicide. In other Australian jurisdictions the legislation stipulates a six month prognosis, so it allows access six months earlier than all other assisted suicide legislation in Australia. 

  11. Trying to talk someone out of assisted suicide could put you in jail for up to 7 years. 

  12. Death certificates would be falsified for people who access assisted suicide to record their underlying sickness as the cause of death instead of suicide or euthanasia.

  13. A doctor or a nurse can raise the idea of assisted suicide in the context of discussing other end-of-life options. This is incredibly dangerous, as a patient would no doubt be feeling unwell, distressed by their prognosis and very vulnerable.

  14. It legalises both assisted suicide, where the doctor prescribes poison for the patient to take, and euthanasia, where the doctor administers a lethal injection to kill the patient either via syringe or a drip. 

Additional considerations are:

  • Queensland has a woeful palliative care funding deficit to the tune of about $250 million per year according to Palliative Care Queensland. This is despite many calls for substantial increases to palliative care funding from the Australian Medical Association, Catholic Health Australia (the largest provider of health care after the government) and Cherish Life through our parliamentary petition to the Queensland Government (thank you those who signed, we achieved almost 8,000 signatures!). The palliative care deficit is most felt in regional Queensland where some areas have no palliative care services at all.
  • Queensland Health only has 134 dedicated palliative beds.
  • Queensland already has almost the highest suicide rate in Australia. In Victoria, in the year after assisted suicide was legalised, the non-assisted suicide rate increased by 13%, and in Canada since euthanasia was legalised in 2016, the total number of suicides (both assisted suicide and non-assisted suicide) increased by 400% over just four years. The Netherlands has recorded an increase in non-assisted suicides of 10% since it legalised euthanasia in 2008.
  • The Australian Medical Association, Nurses Professional Association of Queensland, and 107 out of 109 national medical bodies are opposed to euthanasia of any kind. 

 

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ROE V WADE OVERTURNED

Roe v. Wade (1973) has been overturned!

These are the days prayed for and worked hard for! 

In the USA right there are pro-lifers dancing in the streets, as the Supreme Court of the USA has this past hour made a ruling with a vote of 6 - 3 judges in a case which completely nullifies the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade (1973).

Roe v. Wade (1973) is the US Supreme Court decision that signed the death warrant of 62,000,000 American babies who were legally aborted under this defunct judicial legislation from 1973 until now.

US pro-life groups expect the overturning of this abortion legislation will lead to around half the states in the USA moving to make abortion illegal.

States likely to make abortion illegal following the overturning of Roe v. Wade marked by red  - infographic by Live Action.

 

What can only be described as a pro-life reformation and the beginning of a new era, was massively helped along by former President Trump’s appointment of three (3) conservative judges to the US Supreme Court.  

What does this mean for Australia and the rest of the world? A LOT. Firstly, in time there's likely to be many babies saved as a result - we are so thankful!! Secondly, if the USA can do it, with God's help, so can we. Conceded we have a different system of government, but it's undeniable there is a turning of the tide and increasingly people are horrified by abortion, even abortion to birth. 

Today we are celebrating with our US pro-life peers and giving thanks for this glorious breakthrough in the fight for life. Just think how many more babies will be born!

Let's keep contending, we can do it, Australia!

 

 

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WE OPPOSE COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATES - OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF OPPOSITION

Background

We have been asked our position on the Covid-19 vaccines many times over the previous months. To date we have refrained from commenting publicly as much of this year our focus has been on opposing the government’s euthanasia/ assisted suicide legislation, and vaccine debates have historically been outside of Cherish Life Queensland's field of activity. 

However, now that the Covid-19 vaccine is being mandated by some governments, businesses and industries, we feel compelled to make the public statement below.

In doing so, we acknowledge that there may be a wide range of views on this topic amongst Cherish Life supporters and many may have already received the vaccines. We make no subjective judgement whatsoever, as this should be a free decision. Importantly, our statement does not try to influence people's individual decisions on the Covid-19 vaccine, we understand that taking or abstaining from the Covid-19 vaccine is a highly personal, and at times, complex decision. 

CHERISH LIFE QUEENSLAND'S STATEMENT OF OPPOSITION TO COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATES 

Cherish Life Queensland notes that some vaccines, including those currently available in Australia for Covid-19, are manufactured from and/or tested on cell lines that have been derived from aborted foetal tissue. Because human life has intrinsic value from conception until natural death, it is unacceptable that foetal tissue from aborted babies is used to produce a medical product, even though the medical product may provide some degree of protection from an illness.     

As a result of current state and federal government directives, many pro-life people are presented with a moral dilemma. Some people are distressed to find that due to government and even some business measures they are obliged to either get a Covid vaccine against their conscience, or face loss of certain basic rights, even the loss of employment in some cases. This is unacceptable.

According to all codes of medical ethics, any procedure or treatment including vaccinations must be done only after obtaining free and informed consent from the recipient. Being presented with coercion, such as loss of employment or other basic rights, is hardly free or informed consent.   

Thus we call on state and federal governments and medical regulators in Australia to support the introduction of ethical vaccines that are not derived from cell lines originating from foetal tissue from aborted babies. Our concern applies, but is not limited, to the current vaccines for Covid-19 which have been approved in Australia. 

Further, we call for all mandates relating to Covid-19 vaccines to be removed in order to allow all citizens to have a genuine free and informed consent in this most important matter.

 

Ref: Charlotte Lozier research institute 

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Polling reveals the Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide Bill is out of step with Queenslanders views

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NATIONAL POLLING: MAJORITY OF AUSTRALIANS WANT CARE FOR BABIES BORN ALIVE IN ABORTION

GREAT NEWS! National polling on whether babies born alive in abortion should be given medical care reveals the vast majority of Australians want these babies cared for! 

Among those who express a view on this issue, three times as many say they support care for babies born alive in these circumstances as oppose such care.

The full poll results can be accessed HERE

The national survey commissioned by Cherish Life Queensland was conducted on 14 -17 July 2021 by YouGov online with 1506 Australian voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9%. A full methodology statement is available at https://au.yougov.com/results/apc

The respondents were asked the following question:

Termination of pregnancy is permitted in all Australian states and territories under various circumstances after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is referred to as a ‘late-term abortion.’ 

Sometimes a baby is born alive in a ‘late-term abortion’ procedure. Which is closer to your own view about babies born alive after a late-term abortion procedure? 

  1. They must be given medical care to the same extent as other premature babies. This would be life-sustaining care if they are viable and compatible with life.  RESPONDENTS: 56%
  2. They should not be given medical care and can be allowed to die. RESPONDENTS: 18%
  3. Don’t know. RESPONDENTS: 26%

The full poll results can be accessed HERE

It's encouraging that the vast majority of Australians understand these poor little babies are worthy of care and medical intervention the same as a 'wanted' newborn baby. It's our hope that this poll will provide the Morrison Coalition Government with the courage to allow George Christensen's Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2021, to go to a vote this term, either by adopting the legislation as a government Bill or allowing a Mr Christensen to table the Bill as a Private Member's Bill with a conscience vote. Without the Prime Minister's permission, the Bill will not go to a vote this term of government.

We've been honoured to support Mr Christensen's Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2021 since its inception last year. Most recently Mr Christensen spoke about his Bill at the Brisbane March for Life held in May 2021, where around 4,000 Queenslanders marched. Mr Christensen's speech can be viewed here.

Mr Christensen is scheduled to introduce the Human Rights (Children Born Alive Protection) Bill 2021 to the Australian House of Representatives on Tuesday 10 August, just weeks away. If passed it will be a national first, where there is a win for the rights of babies, instead of tragic loss after loss as has been the heartbreaking case in Australia over the past few decades.

It's time to fight to take back ground and save lives.

To donate towards the fight for life.

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Protest rally against euthanasia Bill headlines news

On the morning of Tuesday 25 May, we held a mini-rally outside Parliament House to protest the terrible Assisted Suicide / Euthanasia Bill being tabled by the Premier that day. (This killing legislation is scheduled to be debated and voted on in September.)

With about 50 fearless friends answering the late (and discreet) call to peacefully stand for life, we held bold anti-euthanasia and pro-palliative care signs high, to send a clear message to politicians who were going into Parliament.

The media took great interest in our protest rally, and it was the lead story on every TV station that evening! The ABC even promo-ed the news with the voice-over saying "Protests over right-to-die legislation" showing footage of our rally. 

  

KAP MPs take a stand for life with some passionate pro-lifers. (Photo:Visual Reality Productions)

All the three Katter's Australian Party MPs - Robbie Katter, Shane Knuth and Nick Dametto attended the rally and shared words of wisdom, as did LNP MP for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson and Teeshan Johnson for Cherish Life.

Here is some of what was said, in order of speakers (and a video of the rally can be found here):

Robbie Katter, KAP MP for Traeger and the leader of the Katter's Australian Party: "It's very important that we fight it... I believe very strongly in the ripple effect in politics. Little things matter, little efforts matter. Those conversations you have amongst your peers done in a peaceful and respectful way can have a very large impact We hope we can change the course of this in Parliament. It's very much a perversion of our moral responsibilities. We've passed laws about workplace health and safety, about driving laws to keep people safe.. there's the most enormous amounts of hypocrisy...we come back in [after they] passed legislation on killing babies, now killing our elderly...

Nick Dametto, KAP MP for Hinchinbrook: "We've got MPs in there, to be fair, who do not understand the legislation they are voting for. It's our responsibility to share with them, not only our views but help them unpack it socially and morally before they go into the House to vote on this. We've got some time before this goes through the committee process as well as having a second reading on the floor of Parliament. That's everyone’s opportunity in a respectful way, to let those MPs know who haven't made their minds up, let them know what their electorate is thinking... Let them know... this isn't assisted dying, this is assisted suicide. This is going one step further than anyone in Queensland has ever done before... there were some disgusting laws that [came in] last term [on] abortion…We can make sure that as a group we make ourselves heard and keep up that fight."

Shane Knuth, KAP MP for Hill: "This is about getting the truth out there so people see what it [the assisted suicide Bill] is all about... Don't underestimate the role that you are playing here. Get an email to [your MP’s] office. We have a great chance of swinging this. Swinging this in the other direction, like the way it happened over there in England [the UK parliament has rejected euthanasia six times] and I believe that this is going to happen here in the Queensland Parliament, where this Bill is going to be defeated.. and we'll go about ensuring people can access proper palliative care. We'll make sure that people can access proper palliative care. Keep up the good fight, keep the message going and let's get this message going right across Queensland so we can swing it in the other direction and get this Bill thrown out." 

Teeshan Johnson, executive director, Cherish Life Queensland: "We actually need some Labor people [MPs] to vote against this otherwise we're not going to hold. Whatever party your local MP is...they need to hear from you. Emails, phone calls, a meeting is actually best...When people understand what euthanasia actually is, that it is intentionally killing someone, it is assisted suicide.. this is intentional killing,... and it will lead to wrongful deaths. There will be more deaths in Queensland every year as a result. It's highly dangerous ... Palliative Care Queensland has said we need an extra $275 million per year, but the Government has only offered us for only 6 years an extra $28 million [per year] when we need an extra $275 million [per year] so they are trying to get out of it cheaply. It's outrageous..."

Fiona Simpson, LNP MP for Maroochydore:  "[We need to be] engaging people... even those that might believe in euthanasia, about the dangers of what this proposal is. What they are proposing is that you can access euthanasia if you have 12 months to live, but you may not get palliative care until the weeks or months before the end of life... so they are denying people from what they call a choice.. It's not a choice if you don't have proper palliative care."

A video of the rally which captures all the speeches and some footage of the peaceful protestors can be found here (A special thank you to Visual Reality Productions for the wonderful video and photos.) More photos of the rally can be found at our Facebook page.

News reports:

Against a backdrop of bias towards euthanasia evident in almost all mainstream media in Australia, we were encouraged that the side for life (and truth) had the opportunity to comment at all.

Here is some media the coverage for the day the Bill was tabled:

Some of the TV News broadcasts for the evening of Tuesday 25 May, 2021 were ABC click here, Sky News click here,  and Channel 7 click here

ABC Online on Tuesday 25 May published "Voluntary assisted dying legislation introduced to Queensland Parliament as protesters voice opposition" where we were mentioned: "Teeshan Johnson from Cherish Life Queensland said her group — which is also opposed to termination of pregnancy — said it was petitioning the government to further increase palliative care funding. 'This [the legislation if passed] will lead to wrongful deaths, and the real form of dying with dignity is actually world-class palliative care,' Ms Johnson said."

The Canberra Times, 7 News online, Victor Harbour Times and other regional papers ran a story written by Australian Associated Press journalist titled: "Queensland protestors urge free euthanasia vote" and on other sites "Queensland Parliament to debate euthanasia laws"  where the issue of conscience votes was discussed. We were mentioned as follows: "Cherish Life Queensland executive director Teeshan Johnson said the Bill won't pass if MPs were allowed a truly free vote. Ms Johnson claimed that while publicly allowing MPs a conscience vote on an abortion bill in 2018, Labor privately bullied MP Jo-Ann Miller after she voted against the laws. 'If Labor aren't given a conscience vote, they have the numbers to push this through,' Ms Johnson told AAP. 'But if it's a real conscience vote, it won't go through, that's really what it comes down to.'"

Brisbane Times, reported "Protests as Qld euthanasia bill is introduced and Premier shares pain", Tuesday 25 May,  and The Catholic Leader reported "Protesters speak out against euthanasia laws as premier introduces Bill." Tuesday 25 May.

To put a submission in against the Bill to the Queensland Health Committee CLICK HERE

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THANK YOU to the 4,000 who marched at the March for Life, Brisbane!

 

March for Life Brisbane, 8 May 2021, speakers (L-R): George Christensen MP, Senator Amanda Stoker, Mark Robinson MP, Martyn Iles (MD of the ACL), Teeshan Johnson, (Cherish Life) and Senator Matt Canavan. (Dr Tim Coyle, Cherish Life Cairns branch president, was also a speaker but not in the photo.)

Thank you to the 4,000 Queenslanders who Marched!

It was a significant day for life where attendees protested the 58% increase in abortions resulting from the Queensland Labor Government legalising abortion to birth in 2018, we also petitioned the federal government to allow George Christensen's Human Rights Bill (Children Born Alive) Protection Bill 2021 to go to a vote this term of government, and protested the dangerous push to legalise assisted suicided (misleadingly called "voluntary assisted dying") in Queensland. 

As an unexpected bonus Senator Matt Canavan announced he will be presenting a Bill to federal parliament which would prohibit a Medicare rebate on abortion for sex-selective reasons! We are backing this 100%!

Speaker's speeches can be accessed here by clicking on their name (in order of speakers): Teeshan Johnson (Cherish Life), Mark Robinson MP for Oodgeroo, Senator Amanda Stoker, George Christensen MP for Dawson, Dr Tim Coyle, Senator Matt Canavan, Martyn Iles (ACL).

Marching, we went a longer route than usual - 1.8kms in total around Brisbane CBD.

An exciting time lapse of the actual march through Brisbane can be watched HERE. The Channel 7 news report can be accessed HERE. The ABC news, Channel 9 News, Sky News, The Australian, The Courier-Mail and Brisbane Times also reported on the march.

      

Some beautiful young pro-lifers.

Thank you to our supporters who helped finance the March for Life Brisbane (solely sponsored by Cherish Life Queensland), as well as the many friendly volunteers who helped on the day.

A very special thank you to professional photographers Kat Tait Photography and Adrian Wedderburn Photopgraphy for the beautiful photos and generously donating your time and talent. Thank you too to the professional videographer for the wonderful videos.

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Assistant Minister for Women under fire for Pro-Life stance

Newly appointed federal Assistant Minister for Women Senator Amanda Stoker has come under fire for her pro-life stance.

Yesterday the Brisbane Times and The Sydney Morning Herald, in a story titled "Mixed history for some female ministers now promoting gender equality", reported:

"Senator Stoker’s appointment as assistant minister for women has drawn fire from some quarters because of her strong anti-abortion stance. She has appeared publicly at pro-life rallies, including speaking out against the Queensland Government’s 2018 bid to decriminalise abortion."

But, surely, being pro-life is exactly what a Minister for Women should be. To be pro-life is to be pro-woman. Many women don't recover well psychologically and sometimes physically from abortion, and around 50% of babies aborted in Australia are little women. 

Senator Stoker after speaking against Labor's abortion-to-birth laws at a March for Life in 2018. We've been honoured to have her share at a number of our rallies, and she's always a crowd favourite. 

Senator Stoker was right to oppose Queensland Labor's 2018 abortion-to-birth laws. Not surprisingly the aggressive and cruel legislation, which came into effect on 3 December 2018, has led to a 58% increase in abortions in Queensland, meaning that 10,000 more babies were killed by abortion in Queensland in the year immediately after the law change. Shame.

The Senator, who is also the Assistant Attorney General and a LNP Senator for Queensland, has proven an excellent and formidable ambassador for life. 

We are honoured that Senator Stoker also will be speaking at the Brisbane March for Life 2021 on Saturday 8 May.

As for the pro-aborts, they need to catch up with the times. The perverse and false philosophy that women need the "right" kill their unborn babies, even up to full term, to have equality with men went out the burning of the bras in the 1960s.

We hope to see you at the March!

 

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