By Ken Orr, Spokesman, Right to Life of New Zealand
Right to Life welcomes the 49 page report of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee that emphatically rejects a culture of death by refusing to make any recommendation that the Crimes Act be changed to allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide.
The Committee has disclosed that 80 per cent of submissions were opposed to euthanasia.
Right to Life commends the Committee for its consideration of the 21,891 written submissions and the 944 oral submissions made to the Committee. Right to Life calls upon all Members of Parliament to now reject a culture of death, represented by euthanasia, and to unreservedly support the government’s Suicide Prevention Policy and its program of bringing world class palliative care to all New Zealanders. Right to Life also requests that the media act in the interest of the public it serves, by ceasing its advocacy of euthanasia.
Right to Life requests that Members of Parliament vote against David Seymour’s “End of Life Choice bill” at its first reading. Right to Life also requests that the Green Party immediately publicly repudiates its policy to legislate for assisted suicide and euthanasia.
We call upon the Voluntary Euthanasia Society New Zealand to now cease its campaign for the legalised killing of the vulnerable, now publicly rejected, and support the continuing campaign for excellent palliative care.
Right to Life supports the call of the Committee that urges, “the government to consider ways in which it can better communicate the excellent services that palliative carers provide, address the unequal access, consider how palliative care is funded and address the workforce shortages.”
The report recognizes that the law prohibiting assisted suicide and the killing of persons was enacted to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, the aged the disabled and the seriously ill. The report recognizes that many members of the Select Committee are not convinced from overseas experience that it is possible to provide adequate safeguards to “protect vulnerable people, such as individuals with dementia or reduced capacity.”
Right to Life believes that it would be an unwise and dangerous social policy, to legislate for euthanasia, as many persons would be deprived of their life who did not wish to be die.
The Committee is to be highly commended for its painstaking consideration since June 2015, of the 21,891 written submissions and the 944 oral submissions made on the petition of the Hon. Maryan Street and 8,975 others. A careful analysis by the Care Alliance of all the written submissions revealed that 77 per cent of the written submissions were opposed to euthanasia. It is noticeable that all the submissions from organizations representing the disabled or elderly sectors, were strongly opposed to a law change.
This report is good news for the disability sector and Aged Concern who recognized the potential threat to the lives of its members. It is also good news for the medical profession who were opposed to euthanasia and who are committed to caring for patients and who did not wish to be compelled to be killers.
There is no need for patients to die with unbearable suffering as we have world class palliative care available in fifteen hospices, or in the homes of patients.