Legalising Assisted Suicide is Dangerous!
Whether or not you are for or against Euthanasia & Physician Assisted Suicide in principle, the important point is: The legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide can never be safe. Nowhere in the world has it successfully been contained and regulated. It’s impossible to put enforceable safeguards in place that would prevent coercion, pressure and abuse. The medically or emotionally vulnerable members of our society are particularly at risk. It’s impossible to ascertain whether consent is genuine and truly free.
Yes, it’s sad that some people and their loved ones suffer physically and emotionally. Death can be an emotionally harrowing experience. Society needs to do everything possible to relieve this suffering. However, assisted suicide – making it legal for people to deliberately help others kill themselves – is not the solution. Legal assisted suicide is too dangerous for society.
You may wonder, “Why do some people want ‘assisted dying’ to be legal?“
“Assisted Dying”, “Dying with Dignity” and “End-of-Life Choice” are the most common euphemisms used for euthanasia and assisted suicide. Usually it is promoted by people who watched loved ones suffer and die without receiving adequate palliative care or those dying slowly from malnutrition or dehydration. Often euthanasia promoters have helped another person commit suicide.
Usually a person who wants assisted suicide is suffering from depression, loneliness and/or grief. Being diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible condition is usually a very traumatic experience and involves grief and loss. Feelings such as anger, shock, denial, fear, sadness and hopelessness are common. When people reach the final stage of the grief process, acceptance, they find new hope, rediscover enjoyment of life and don’t want to hasten their death anymore.
Fear is the reason why some want euthanasia and assisted suicide to be legalised: Fear of the future, fear of uncontrollable pain, fear of getting old, fear of losing control, fear of being kept alive, fear of being on machines, fear of being a vegetable, fear of losing dignity, fear of being a burden.
All these fears can be addressed without legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide.
You may wonder, “But surely a person should have the right to choose when and how they die?”
You are now talking about suicide, not assisted suicide. The (tragic) act of suicide involves only one person. It’s an individual choice.
However, assisted suicide is not a personal, individual choice. By definition, at least one other person needs to be involved for it to happen. Any attempts to safeguard it would involve even more people. Assisted suicide and euthanasia involve society – The slogan, “It’s my life, my choice” doesn’t apply.
You may wonder, “But if assisted suicide is not legalised people would be kept alive in unbearable pain and agony. This is inhumane. We are more compassionate to animals!”
Well… We keep animals in cramped factory farms, test cosmetics on them and put them down when care becomes too expensive. We kill horses with broken legs and dogs with rabies. All that, without them having a choice… This is no benchmark for how we should treat people…
We’re not advocating that people are left to suffer. We want excellent holistic care to be available to each person and their loved ones: Care that addresses their physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. We are advocating natural, yet comfortable and peaceful, death for every New Zealander.
We’re not advocating that people be resuscitated or given treatment against their wishes. It’s already legal to refuse these. We’re not suggesting that people should be kept alive on life support against their wishes or for an unreasonable length of time. It’s already legal to refuse these medical interventions. Also, it’s important to know that switching off life support, and refusing treatment or resuscitation, are not euthanasia.