By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The New Zealand Health Committee report on euthanasia that received 22,000 submissions over a two-year period, and direct input from 1000 people, including myself, did not recommend legalizing euthanasia, the New Zealand Herald reported.
The Committee was formed based on an all-party agreement in response to a petition from Maryan Street, a former Labour MP.
According to the article written by Isaac Davison published by the Herald, Health Committee chair Simon O’Connor said that the Committee did not make any formal recommendations to the government but provided a summary of the arguments for and against assisted dying. O’Connor said
“We’ve tried to distil all the arguments and our recommendation to both the Parliament and the people of New Zealand is to read this report and come to a deeper understanding of what’s been asked around assisted suicide and euthanasia.”
O’Connor stated that in his personal view, the report did not indicate that assisted dying should be legalised.
“As I look at it myself, the arguments are quite compelling that while we understand why people ask for this, it’s equally an issue for public safety and not a prudent step to make.”
O’Connor told Davison
“It is about actually understanding the arguments for and against and making a decision about which ones are correct.”
O’Connor said that the main argument against legalizing euthanasia is public safety.
“It is very difficult to see how there could be sufficient safeguards to actually protect vulnerable people in New Zealand. And that’s been the experience overseas as well.
“It probably comes down to the simple question of ‘How many errors would Parliament would be willing to accept in this space?'”
Some doctors supported a change, but there was strong opposition from some parts of the medical profession who said it was not compatible with their work.
The Health Committee report concludes by stating
“This issue is clearly very complicated, very divisive and extremely contentious.
“We therefore encourage everyone with an interest in the subject to read the report in full and to draw their conclusions based on the evidence we have presented.”
The bill to legalize euthanasia that has been introduced by David Seymour is unlikely to be debated before the next election, according to the Herald.
Congratulations to the leaders of Euthanasia Free New Zealand and everyone who made a submission to the Committee.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.