Ireland moves closer to legalizing euthanasia after gov’t committee recommendation – LifeSite

DUBLIN (LifeSiteNews) — The Oireachtas (Irish parliament) Joint Committee on Assisted Dying in Ireland has issued a controversial final report recommending the legalization of assisted suicide for people with health conditions that are “advanced, incurable, irreversible, and progressive.”

On March 20, the same day Leo Varadkar resigned as Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), the Joint Committee on Assisted Dying in Ireland outlined 38 recommendations for assisted suicide in a detailed report after hearing from experts and speakers since January 2023.

Recommendation One from the report states: “The Committee recommends that the Government introduces legislation allowing for assisted dying, in certain restricted circumstances as set out in the recommendations in this report.”

The committee recommends that assisted suicide would “primarily apply to a person diagnosed, with an illness or medical condition that is incurable, irreversible, progressive, and advanced and will cause death within 6 months.”

The report also recommends the case for euthanasia. This would involve a doctor taking the final action to end a person’s life when the willing victim is physically unable to administer the fatal “medical substance.”

The proposed legislation says a time limit of 12 months would be set for those with neurodegenerative conditions.

On March 6, committee members voted 9:3 in favor of making it a statuary right to assist a person to end their life. One member abstained from the vote, and another was not present during voting.

Committee members Senator Ronan Mullen, Deputy Robert Troy, and Deputy Michael Healy-Rae (the chairman of the joint committee) voted against the recommendations, and instead have issued an minority report outlining their concerns about assisted suicide and emphasizing the importance of funding palliative care services.

In October 2020, Solidarity-People Before Profit TD (member of parliament) for Dublin Mid-West Gino Kenny tabled the Dying with Dignity Bill 2020 to the Oireachtas. The aim of the bill is to allow the option for assisted dying at the end of life for people suffering from a terminal illness.

On Jan 24, 2023, a special parliamentary committee was established to discuss the legal, medical, and ethical issues of assisted suicide as well as the practicalities of introducing such a law in Ireland.

The fourteen committee members heard from a broad range of professionals, medical experts, lobby groups, and individuals from Ireland and abroad advocating for and against assisted suicide during the special parliamentary meetings held in Dublin.

READ: Irish Medical Council removes language banning ‘deliberate killing’ of patients in new guidelines

Religious leaders in Ireland have come out in strong opposition against the proposed plans to legalize assisted suicide.

Last fall the Irish Catholic Bishop’s Conference released a  statement entitled “Care at the End of Life.”

They appealed to legislators to “respect the integrity of healthcare as a service to life from conception to natural death.”

The bishops warned that “Assisted suicide is often presented as something that would be rare and exceptional. Once assisted suicide is accepted in principle, it becomes very difficult to draw a line.”

They concluded by asking people to “join us in prayer for those who, at this time, are coming to terms with a diagnosis of terminal illness, that they may have the blessing of a community of compassion and care.”

Psychiatrists, palliative care doctors, and international experts also strongly advised the committee not to legalize the introduction of assisted suicide in Ireland.

Galway Senator Ronan Mullen observed: “What was most striking at the hearings was the consistent international testimony of how euthanasia and assisted dying regimes can, and do, freewheel out of control.”

Despite the alarming key evidence from experts during the hearings that assisted suicide is morally, ethically, medically, and legally wrong, most of the committee, which included numerous far-left leaning politicians and groups advocating for assisted suicide, predictably ignored the evidence provided.

Janie Lazar, chair of End-of-Life Ireland, told RTÉ News after the recommendations that “Ireland has seen so many changes. We have seen marriage equality, we have seen divorce, we have seen abortion and we have had all these difficult conversations. This is the next step, and this is something that Ireland is ready for.”

However, Senator Mullen optimistically believes the current recommendations will not “see legislation” and is “just a moment in time” in Ireland that “isn’t binding on anybody.”

The pro-life Senator added that the recent double referendum loss for the Irish government highlighted how they are “not always ultimately in touch with what the people want.”

Following the report, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) which include over 13,000 doctors issued a statement saying any law legalizing assisted suicide is “contrary to best medical practice.”

To become law, the legislation will need to be approved in both Houses of the Oireachtas (Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann) before the next general election, otherwise it will not pass through the legislative process.

The Irish government are now scrutinizing the proposed legislation.

READ: The rapid expansion of Canada’s euthanasia regime should be a warning to the world

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