National MP Michael Woodhouse has today tabled an amendment to the End of Life Choice Bill to provide protection for organisations who have a conscientious objection to assisted dying being practised in their facilities.
“The sponsor of the Bill has proposed an amendment offering protection to health professionals who have a conscientious objection to participation in assisted dying. I believe that protection should be extended to non-government organisations.
“Many organisations presently offering aged care, long-term hospital level care, dementia care and palliative care were established by groups whose ethos is grounded in beliefs that are opposed to assisted dying. They may be faith-based or have a mission of care that recognises that dying is a natural part of life and that, while good care at the end of life is important, death should not be hastened.
“There is widespread concern amongst some of these providers that, should the Bill pass into law, pressure will be brought to bear on them to allow health professionals to enter their facilities to provide assisted dying, and that Government funding could be conditional upon that service being provided. My Bill offers them protection from that pressure.
“The Bill’s sponsor promotes the Bill as a matter of choice and that some will exercise that choice while others will not. That principle should apply to organisations on the basis that there will be sufficient choice offered by public providers and non-government organisations prepared to offer the service.
“Regardless of whether MPs support or oppose the Bill, I trust they will see the merit of organisations’ choice being important without the fear of sanction for the exercise of that choice. I ask for their support for my amendment."