What has the Anglican Church said about euthanasia?


2016 – Resolution passed at the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney (Resolution 17/2016)

Recognising that all life is precious in God’s sight and that deliberately ending a human life is wrong, Synod views with deep concern the possibility that the Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2016 may pass the South Australian Parliament shortly.


Further Synod –

(a) rejects the false notion that euthanasia represents dying with dignity;

(b) recognises that euthanasia represents a deep and fundamental change to society’s commitment to caring for people at their most vulnerable, and that the elderly in particular will be exposed to possible medical error and abuse;

(c) believes that euthanasia will fundamentally change the doctor-patient relationship by undermining the trust inherent in that bond and the “do no harm” purpose of medical care;

(d) supports the maintenance and if possible extension of funding available to palliative care units of South Australian hospitals,and respectfully urges Members of the South Australian Parliament to oppose the Bill.

(Dr Karin Sowada 12/10/2016)


2014 – Resolution passed at the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney (Resolution 32/2014)

Synod  notes  the  exposure  draft  of  the  Medical  Services  (Dying  with  Dignity)  Bill  2014  currently  being  considered in the Australian Senate.Consistent  with  its  previous  resolutions, 


Synod  advises  all  federal  senators  from  NSW  that  it  would  oppose passing into law in Australia this bill or any similar bill permitting euthanasia or physician-

assisted suicide.


Synod urges legislators to put their efforts into funding the improved provision of palliative care.

(Canon Sandy Grant 20/10/2014)


2010 - Resolution passed at the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney (Resolution 38/2010)

A motion was put before the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney by the Social Issues Executive and was passed as a resolution of the Synod. The resolution by Synod reads as follows:

This Synod, in response to the Greens’ notice of motion to introduce into the NSW Parliament a Bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia and the Greens’ Bill in Federal Parliament to overturn Commonwealth prohibitions against euthanasia legislation in the Territories –

1.     notes that when adequate palliative care, symptom control and psychosocial support is available and accessible, only a tiny minority of those accessing such support express a preference for euthanasia;

2.     observes that the outcome of legalised voluntary euthanasia will include the insertion of mistrust into patient-carer and patient-relative relationships, a creeping expansion of candidates for euthanasia, and reduced funding for terminal care;

3.     notes that recent reports of community support for euthanasia fail adequately to distinguish the deliberate killing of people from the morally acceptable practice of not prolonging life with burdensome treatment; and

4.     notes that most supporters for euthanasia are young and healthy, but that euthanasia legislation is not well supported among people with disability and by people who are old, infirm or vulnerable.

Accordingly, this Synod –

(a) reaffirms that all human life is precious in God’s sight, and that the Bible’s clear prohibition of killing innocent humans has the positive effect of creating communities that love and care for others at their weakest and most vulnerable;

(b) reiterates its opposition to voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide;

(c)  calls upon the Premier and the Prime Minister to oppose these initiatives;

(d) calls on the NSW State and Federal parliamentarians to oppose these initiatives, and to inform themselves of the alternatives to euthanasia and of its negative consequences in jurisdictions that have adopted it; and

(e) calls on these governments to increase funding to pain management and palliative care services.

Dr Karin Sowada and Dr Megan Best spoke in support of the SIE motion to the Synod. A text version of their speeches is available on the Sydney Anglican site here, as well as a PDF version of Dr Best’s speech here. Dr Stephen Judd seconded the motion, and a copy of his speech is available here.

Resolution passed at the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne (2010)

The following motion was passed as a resolution of the 2010 Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne. 

This Synod reaffirms the resolution of the General Synod of Australia (1995) concerning Euthanasia, namely:

- We affirm that life is a gift from God not to be taken, and is therefore not subject to matters such as freedom of individual choice.

- We cast doubt on whether a practice of voluntary euthanasia can be prevented from sliding into a practive of involuntary euthanasia.

- We affirm the right of patients to decline treatment but not to expect the active intervention by medical staff to end their lives.

And calls upon

(a) members of the Victorian State legislature to vote against legislation to legalise euthanasia when such matters come before our Parliament; and

(b) governments to further improve access to high quality palliative care to ensure that all people will be able to die with dignity.

Resolution passed at the General Synod of Australia (2010)

The following motion was passed as a resolution of the 2010 General Synod of Australia. 

Sanctity of Life

This Synod affirms the sanctity of life; that life is God's gift and that our task is to protect, nurture and sustain life to the best of our ability.

This Synod makes this reaffirmation amidst media reports, so soon after a federal election, suggesting a future federal parliamentary debate about euthanasia.

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