Euthanasia debate starts up again
Thu, 16 Aug 2012 9:23a.m.
By Adrien Taylor
The debate on whether euthanasia should be legalised in New Zealand is once again heating up as local and international campaigners gather in Wellington for a conference on the issue.
It's an argument that provokes strong reactions and is bound to create fault lines in Parliament if Labour MP Maryan Street has her Private Member's Bill to legalise drawn from the ballot.
“I think there are more people who want to be as self-determining at their end point as they have been during their life and I for one, don't think they can be told they can't be,” she says.
She says her End-of-Life Choice Bill would make it legal for those who are terminally ill, or have an irreversible medical condition, but are still mentally fit, the right to choose to die, and for assisting clinicians or family members to be protected from liability.
And she's confident she'll have the support of other MPs, if the bill gets drawn.
“I'll personally be voting for it, I think it should go to select committee, I think we should have the debate about it as a country,” says Green Party co-leader Russel Norman.
But that debate over whether someone should have the legal right to assisted death is a controversial one, and there is strong opposition.
There will not be a need for euthanasia. We believe that good palliative care goes a long way to reducing people's suffering because it focuses on people living rather than their dying,” says Hospice New Zealand’s Mary Schumacher.
Hospice New Zealand is hosting a public meeting tonight at the Paramount Cinema in Wellington.
And although it opposes legalising euthanasia, it says the free meeting is about fostering debate from all points of view.
“The goal is to inform the public and so that people can make their own decisions on this,” says Ms Schumacher.
Speakers include Maryan Street and Baroness Finlay of Llandaff - a prominent Welsh doctor who argues against euthanasia - discussing the ethical and legal crossroad the issue creates, a crossroad which is being discussed overseas too.
Euthanasia is legal in some European countries – in the Netherlands it accounted for 2.8 percent of all deaths in 2010, or more than 3,800 people.
The figure in 2001 was roughly the same and there is no evidence that there has been any increase since it was made legal in 2002.
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1/09/2012 5:35:26 p.m.
Kerry Bateman wrote:
I am a very fit 78 yr old. Recently I had a minor stroke while overseas. What most conerned me was that I was without my Exit machine and if I were to have a major cardio-vascular crippling event I would be unable to make my own decision as to when to die.
Religeous adherents are welcome to their views be they Christian, Moslem or otherwise. Why cannot we others be allowed ours when these views only concern us and our own loved ones?
28/08/2012 7:37:47 p.m.
The number of suicide under Key's watch is rated highest over any other PM before him..!.
28/08/2012 11:32:45 a.m.
Why shouldn't I have the right to take my own life, particularly when I have parkinson's disease.
Instead, I am forced to suffer the indignity of sliding into the depths of hell.
21/08/2012 1:33:07 a.m.
@CHARLIE. Ha! how many millions of people have been slaughtered over the years in the name of God? Also in case you hadn't noticed, there are now 7 billion of us running around.On a side note, we should all retire at 55,go on a comfortable state pension until we're 70 i.e. 15 years of quality life outside of work. then have a big party and then pop off! no lingering old age, no greedy rest home industry required. and with your pre-ordained date of departure set, you'd appreciate life a lot more! its a winner!
19/08/2012 4:10:29 p.m.
Labour has lost the South Auckland vote. Non of my parishioners will vote for them. Life is sacred and the Lord is above human knowledge. Any suffering is for him and as Christians we do not interfere with this. Euthanasia, or killing humans, is a sin.
19/08/2012 1:51:14 p.m.
Craig Young wrote:
Maria, I accept that conservative Christians have deeply held anti-euthanasia positions. However, in this context, they are decisively out of step with mainstream secular public opinion...but not medical practitioner opinion, which is more significant than religious social conservative opposition.
19/08/2012 1:34:22 p.m.
euthanasia and suicide are different animals and should not be talked about in the same context. It'll never happen in the 1st world because of the legal ramifications as to whether the euthanee(?) was co-erced into 'going' by family beneficiaries who could see their inheritances being sucked away by the care industry, I'm all for it, but sort it out before you get to a state when you can't. talk to your families throughout your life about it. choice mate
19/08/2012 8:50:47 a.m.
Michaellaws first mooted this all those years ago when he was in parliament. Since then it has kept coming up.Legalise murder, suicide, killing? 'dying with dignity"goes against morality. However we live in a day where all that is just, right and good has been turned around, black is now white and white now black. Another example is cop shootings of individuals.
18/08/2012 5:12:41 p.m.
This issue is rather like abortion. People who hold an opinion are unlikely to change it or listen to any other viewpoint. I'm glad this issue is being debated. It's not going to go away no matter what decision politicians come up with.
18/08/2012 3:43:45 p.m.
While bodily self-determination should be an individual choice, I fear that this bill will probably be defeated. In most other national contexts where either doctor assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia has been decriminalised, national medical associations have taken a neutral or facilitating role. Unfortunately, the New Zealand Medical Association opposes decriminalisation of euthanasia.
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