South Australia MLC Defeated, Pulls Bill to Legalize Euthanasia

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 24, 2010   |   5:23PM   |   Washington, DC

The member of the South Australia state legislature who proposed a bill to legalize euthanasia has pulled the measure because he expected it to go down in defeat.

Mark Parnell, the Greens MLC who introduced the bill to legalize euthanasia in South Australia, pulled the measure after he counted votes and noted it would have been defeated 12-9.

Paul Russell, the director of HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide, a local anti-euthanasia group in Australia, emailed about the news.

“I’m so glad to be able to report to you a win for commonsense in the Upper House of the South Australian Parliament tonight,” he said. “The final outcome was a defeat for the Parnell Bill ‘on the voices’ – in other words, votes were not recorded. However, from the speeches alone it was clear that the vote was 12 to 9 in our favor.”

Russell says pro-life advocates and others who are concerned about the disabled, sick, and elderly should applaud the victory but not rest on their laurels.

“We should certainly celebrate but also remain committed for the long haul with three other bills now in the Lower House, another in the Federal Parliament and more to come,” he said.

Russell also urged anti-euthanasia advocates to retool their arguments in preparation for coming battles.

“Many sound arguments permeated through the speeches tonight. Yet we’re still to see our pollies grasp the nettle on the choice illusion playing far too much on palliative care (which of course is very good) which, it seems to me, is an argument that, although true, is diminishing in its effectiveness over time,” he said.

He said backers of euthanasia are saying they support palliative care and killing patients.

“This is a significant victory,” adds Alex Schadenberg, the director of the
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Canada.

He told “Last year a similar bill was defeated by a vote of 11 to 9 in South Australia. This spring the election resulted in 3 of the 11 who voted against euthanasia being defeated.”  [related]

“Paul Russell leader of the HOPE, and his team, worked very hard and successfully convinced several politicians to vote against the euthanasia bill in South Australia,” he added.

HOPE has organized an effective lobby against the legalization of euthanasia in South Australia. They are now planning to organize nationally, Schadenberg explained.