“Once it is accepted in principle that one person may participate actively in ending the life of another, there is no longer any logical basis for refusing this same option to any person who feels that life is no longer worth living,” they wrote.
“We are aware that, in countries where it is legally permitted for healthcare professionals to be directly involved in the taking of human life, it has very quickly been extended to include people who are not terminally ill.”
A bioethics institute noted last month that euthanasia and assisted suicide cases have risen rapidly in Belgium and the Netherlands since the practices were legalized in 2002.
The Irish bishops said: “The bill anticipates that doctors and nurses, whose vocation and purpose is to serve life, will now be prepared to involve themselves in ending life. This would represent a radical transformation of the meaning of healthcare.”
“While the bill does, theoretically, provide for conscientious objection, it still requires healthcare professionals to refer their patients to other medical practitioners who will carry out their wishes.”
“This means that, one way or another, healthcare professionals are required to involve themselves in something which they believe to be contrary to morality and to medical best practice. This, in our view, is unacceptable.”