John Roughan: Let’s stop on euthanasia’s ‘orange light’

by John Roughan, New Zealand Herald, 24 September 2016

Mr Roughan is an editorial writer and columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

The Human Rights Commission has given what it calls the “orange light” to euthanasia, saying Parliament should proceed with caution and only if strict safeguards are in place. I didn’t think that was the meaning of an orange light. I thought it meant, stop if you can.

Admittedly that is the effect orange lights are having on Auckland’s traffic. Orange has come to mean, “step on it, for you now how long the red phase lasts in this city”.

It is disturbing to discover in the commission’s paper that judicial thinking appears to have adopted euthanasia’s claim that “dignity” for the suffering resides exclusively in a chosen death.

There is in fact dignity in living with pain and incapacity and we should not take it away. Euthanasia would remove the one shred of dignity left to those who need the most personal and intimate care, which is that they cannot help their condition.

If they are given a legal option to die, they would always wonder, do those caring for them respect their choice? Can others see any dignity in their life?

 

Let’s not run this orange. Let’s stop while we can.

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