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Law students accuse Medical Council of twisting their euthanasia arguments

'As harsh as it may seem, an educated debate on euthanasia requires us to look at facts...which include aspects such as its economical effects on health services' 

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
16 February 2017, 8:36pm
The law students’ association (GHSL) has accused the Malta Medical Council of misrepresenting its intentions behind its recent policy paper on euthanasia.

The Medical Council on Tuesday criticised the students’ report, which found that 69% of university students agreed with euthanasia – as proof that the younger generation view euthanasia as a foregone conclusion.

The students were also taken to task by government Whip Godfrey Farrugia and Opposition MP Robert Cutajar for including in their policy paper economic arguments in favour of euthanasia, namely as a cost control on the public health system.

The MaltaToday stand on euthanasia | A question of dignity

“As with a very large number of social issues that tend to upend the apple cart, the moral aspect on euthanasia has been widely documented and seemingly never-ending, as the rest of this policy paper tries to explain in detail,” the report’s introduction to the economic argument reads.

“With this in mind, it would be an excellent idea if such moral questions are set aside for a moment, while the focus is shifted towards the economics behind euthanasia, both as a microcosm of the current health system in Malta and abroad, as well as a measuring indicator of whether euthanasia does leave an impact of sorts from the monetary side of things.”

However, at the committee session, the two MPs strongly warned the law students that economic arguments can never be used to justify ending human life.

However, GHSL president Jacob Portelli told MaltaToday that the organisation had not taken a stance in favour or against euthanasia, but merely analyzed the possible impact of the legalization of euthanasia in Malta.

“As harsh as it may seem, an educated and serious debate on this subject requires us to look at facts, to look at the reality of things of, which unfortunately include certain aspects such as the economical effect euthanasia will have,” he said. “As students, as an organisation and as possible future law makers we must not shy away from debating on issues such as these.”

In a survey amongst 313 university students, a vast majority of 69% said they agreed with the introduction of voluntary euthanasia. 28 students (9.8%) disagreed, while the rest (21%) said ‘maybe’. Those who disagreed mainly said that euthanasia ran counter to their religious faith, or that it was a form of “direct killing”.

Students hold euthanasia debate

Earlier today, the University Students’ Council held a debate amongst students on campus on whether euthanasia should be legalised, reported on by student media group Insite.

University students hold a debate on euthanasia on campus
University students hold a debate on euthanasia on campus
Gabriella Sutton from the Malta Health Students Association said that euthanasia should only be enabled for patients who have been diagnosed with life-ending illnesses.

“We are told to take charge of life, so why are we then condemned when we take charge of death too?” she asked.

John Navarro from Gender Equality Malta said that euthanasia should be legalised, warning that people who are denied that option are likely to commit suicide.

However, Jef Cuschieri from the University Bible Group warned that euthanasia will give doctors permission to murder people, and run counter to God’s will and the sanctity of life.

Jean-Claude Schembri from the theology students’ association said that a dignified death is one in which the person is supported by their loved ones and a caring society till the end.

“Ultimately what we all need is the resilience to find meaning in the suffering we can do little about.”