Legalising Assisted Suicide is Dangerous!
Whether or not you are for or against Euthanasia & Physician Assisted Suicide in principle, the important point is: Legalising euthanasia can never be safe. Trying to contain and regulate euthanasia simply doesn’t work. It’s impossible to put enforceable safeguards in place that will 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. 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, “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. 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.
“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. Often euthanasia promoters have helped another person commit suicide.
In 2012 Maryan Street, who was a Labour list MP at the time, sponsored the End-of-Life Choice Bill which proposed the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide in New Zealand. She withdrew this Member’s Bill from the ballot in October 2013, but promised to resubmit it after the 2014 election. Since she has missed out on a seat in the new parliament, Iain Lees-Galloway, Labour MP for Palmerston North, has stated his intention to pick up this bill.