A PRO-LIFE campaigner has warned Member for Western Victoria James Purcell not to “open up a can of worms”.
Denise Cameron, president of Pro-Life Victoria, said she was concerned the state’s voluntary assisted dying bill would result in unnecessary deaths.
Ms Cameron urged Mr Purcell to rethink his decision to support the bill, with an amendment that any person seeking an assisted death must be medically assessed as within six months of dying, not 12.
“Mr Purcell has said he will only support it with an amendment but my hope is that as time passes he will realise it’s far too dangerous a track to go down,” she said.
“Where there’s life, there’s hope.”
Ms Cameron, a retired nurse, said she had heard too many stories about voluntary euthanasia laws in other countries being abused.
“There is nothing in the bill to protect people from elder abuse and other forms of coercion,” she said.
“The dying need to be treated as special, not put down like animals.”
Ms Cameron said she was worried there was the possibility doctors could determine certain ailments as terminal to allow patients to access voluntary euthanasia.
“How are we going to be able to monitor this and see that everything is above board?”
Ms Cameron said she was also concerned funding would be denied to Catholic hospitals who refuse to allow patients to access voluntary euthanasia.
“In Canada the ink has not even been dried on voluntary euthanasia and the pro-euthanasia lobby is already trying to take funding away from Catholic hospitals who won’t do it,” she said.
After calling for constituents to share their views on the bill, Mr Purcell announced he would support the legislation.
“This is such an emotional and sensitive issue,” Mr Purcell said.
“I understand the desperation of those who support the legislation and also the deep seated concerns of those opposed.”
Mr Purcell said he believed the state’s framework was the safest and most conservative in the world when it came to assisted dying legislation.
He said it would give Victorians with a terminal illness a genuine choice at the end of their lives.
"I would like to express my thanks to those who have shared their very personal and painful stories with me and my staff over the past week, from both sides of the argument,” Mr Purcell said.
“I hope that by passing this legislation we are able to offer choice for those in the final stages of a serious illness.”
The Standard, Warrnambool