The Anglican Church has advised its aged care homes to discourage their residents from seeking euthanasia when NSW legislation comes into force this year, and has warned the practice could become so morally corrupting for church-run institutions that they may need to exit the industry.
In a report presented to the synod, Anglican Community Services said they were adopting a minimum compliance strategy: hostels would comply with the requirements of the law, such as allowing residents access to qualified doctors, but refusing any further assistance.
“The report calls on Anglicare Sydney to use ‘deed and word’ to dissuade residents from accessing the VAD, respectfully and in accordance with the law,” it said.
“The Board of Anglicare Sydney has decided… VAD will not be available in its aged care homes and the organization and staff will not be actively involved in the provision of VAD services,” the report to the Synod, an Anglican parliament, reads.
From 28 November, terminally ill adults suffering “unbearable suffering” can apply in NSW to end their lives. Churches, including Anglicans and Catholics, who have strongly opposed the law, are struggling with how to balance their legal obligations with their religious objections.
The Anglican report stated that staff would not initiate discussions, provide information or take an active part in the process of a resident’s voluntary euthanasia.
“It should be recognized that the existence of VAD may well lead to an intolerable disruption in service, necessitating a withdrawal from residential aged care in the future.”
The report listed the arguments used to discourage people from undergoing VAD, such as: B. Staff confusing calls for help with requests for euthanasia, the church’s view that safety precautions were inadequate, and the fact that legalizing the VAD was not a valid decision.
Respecting people’s autonomy means understanding that they can make choices “with which we disagree, but it doesn’t mean unconditionally respecting every wish expressed,” it said.