Last night David Seymour published a 73-page Sponsor’s Report which includes several pages of amendments to his proposed End of Life Choice Bill, only three weeks after allegedly claiming that his Bill was “perfect”.
Before writing this report, he read only 226 of the over 36,000 submissions to the Justice Committee, despite a preliminary analysis showing that 92% of submissions are opposed to his Bill.
Seymour’s report is rife with alleged quotes from submitters without references.
He claims to have listened to submitters, but he dismisses the concerns from key submitters such as Hospice, who complained that the Bill does not allow conscientious objection for organisations who don’t want to be involved in euthanasia or assisted suicide (p.15).
“Seymour’s proposed amendments are cosmetic changes only. His Bill is still fundamentally dangerous,” says Renée Joubert, Executive Officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.
“It’s ludicrous and naïve of him to claim that “there is no risk of coercion of the vulnerable” (page 2), considering the high rates of relationship and elder abuse in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Even with amendments this Bill would have a wide application
Seymour’s proposal to remove the “grievous and irremediable medical condition” eligibility clause would not ensure a narrow scope.
In Oregon, USA, a person is eligible to receive lethal drugs if they have been diagnosed with a “terminal disease” that is expected to “produce death within six months”.
However, the official annual reports specifically mention some diseases that would not normally be classified as terminal illnesses, including diabetes, arthritis, Hepatitis C, endocarditis, arteritis, stenosis and sclerosis.
It has been confirmed by the Oregon Health Authority that if a person with a chronic illness, such as diabetes, foregoes treatment such as insulin injections, for any reason (including financial reasons or suicidal ideation) and thereby is likely to die within six months, the person becomes eligible for assisted suicide.
Euthanasia-Free NZ intends to publish a detailed response to Seymour’s claims and proposals.