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10 Questions For David Seymour: #1

by Care Alliance, 12 July 2017

Click here to view the 10 Questions For David Seymour website, with questions (and answers!) being added between 12 July and 25 July.

 

#1 Why 18 years of age?

  • Maryan Street, President of VES, is on record as stating that “Application for children with terminal illness was a bridge too far in my view at this time. That might be something that may happen in the future, but not now.” The only basis for her holding this view is to make a law change more palatable to the public, because it cannot be defended ethically, legally or medically.
  • Euthanasia became legal in the Netherlands in 2002. It allows euthanasia for those aged at least 12 years of age. Children aged from 12 – 15 years require parental consent. More recently, some Dutch doctors are urging lawmakers to extend the euthanasia law to include children aged 1 to 12.
  • Belgium, which introduced euthanasia for those at least 18 years of age in 2002, voted to extend the practice to children in 2014.
  • For any society “which tolerates euthanasia in certain defined circumstances already, to deny children with capacity the same opportunities to end their suffering humanely, to the same extent as their older contemporaries, must surely be as unjust as it is discriminatory.” Jo Samanta. See Diversity & Equality in Health and Care (2015)

 

Conclusion: It is discriminatory to limit access to a particular group on the basis of age. The age limit of 18 years is arbitrary. The choice of 18 years as a limit is for political reasons only and not for ethical, legal or medical reasons. 

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Care Alliance Launches ‘Ten Questions For David Seymour’ Campaign

Media Release, Care Alliance, 12 July 2017

Care Alliance Launches ‘Ten Questions For David Seymour’ Campaign

The Care Alliance today launched a campaign highlighting ten key questions MPs need to ask about David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill.

“Mr Seymour’s bill is an extreme version of a very bad idea,” said Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance. “All New Zealanders need to examine it critically, especially Members of Parliament who might be asked to debate it soon.”

Mr Jansen said the Ten Questions would be progressively released over the next two weeks. The first question, released today, is ‘Why 18 years of age?’. “This question highlights the inconsistency of Mr Seymour’s argument that euthanasia is ‘compassionate’. If killing is so kind, why not make it available for children as they do in Belgium and the Netherlands?”

He noted that in 2013 Maryan Street said ‘Application for children with terminal illness was a bridge too far in my view at this time. That might be something that may happen in the future, but not now.’

“The reality is that making 18 the age of eligibility is a political calculation, rather than an ethical, legal or medical judgment,” said Mr Jansen.

ENDS

 

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Netherlands study: 431 people were killed without explicit request in 2015

by Alex Schadenberg, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, 30 June 2017

Mr Schadenberg reviews the latest (2015) official information about euthanasia in the Netherlands.

In 2015 there were 7254 assisted deaths (6672 euthanasia deaths, 150 assisted suicide deaths, 431 termination of life without request) and 18,213 deaths whereby the medical decisions that were intended to bring about the death.

But wait, there’s more.

According to the Netherlands 2015 official euthanasia report there were 5561 reported assisted deaths in 2015 and yet the data from the study indicates that there were 7254 assisted deaths in 2015. Therefore, there were 1693 unreported assisted deaths (approximately 23%) in 2015
The 431 terminations of life without explicit request, was up from 310 in 2010.

Click here to read the full article.

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Assisted suicide is not a progressive issue

by Matthew Jansen, Pundit, 20 January 2016

Last year Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, asked “So who wants assisted suicide?”

In Oregon, the poster child for New Zealand advocates of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the statistics after 17 years of the Death With Dignity Act are emphatic:

White                                                                     97.1%
Bachelor degree or higher                                  45.9%
Private medical insurance                                  60.2%
Concerned about being “less able to
engage in activities making life enjoyable”       88.7%

That is, the people who are doing the choosing are disproportionately white, wealthy, and well-educated. Having had a good life they want control of how they would face a terminal illness.

Fair enough, you might think, but who pays the price for their ‘choice’?

People like 64-year-old Barbara Wagner, who received a letter from the Oregon state health insurer helpfully advising her that they wouldn’t pay for the chemotherapy drugs she needed, but they would pay $50 for her assisted suicide.

And let’s not forget that the general suicide rate in Oregon has been increasing since 2000, and at last count was 41% above the United States average. That’s a fair warning that when you assist suicide for one group, you are endorsing it as an appropriate response to suffering for everybody.

The Guardian columnist Giles Fraser recently wrote “let us not pretend that this ‘personal choice’ is unaffected by wider economic realities.”

“by eroding the long-term mutual obligations we have to each other, in sickness and in health, we have arrived at the existential equivalent of a zero-hours contract with life, a contract that can be terminated at will.”

Euthanasia and assisted suicide – or whatever your euphemism of choice – is not a progressive issue.

Click here to read the full article.

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When euthanasia ‘safeguards’ become ‘barriers to access’

Aubert Martin, Mercatornet, 4 July 2017

M. Martin is the Executive Director of Vivre dans la Dignité, a Canadian organisation opposing euthanasia. In this article he analyses a legal case in Canada in which “two people living with disabilities who were refused the assistance of a physician to kill themselves … requested the removal of the ‘reasonably foreseeable death’ clause of the federal law as well as the ‘end of life’ requirement in the Quebec law.”

The same promoters of euthanasia who claimed that it was only a matter of “exceptional requests for exceptional cases” have updated their rhetoric to justify the explosion of euthanasia requests: it has become “a response to a need.”

Yet, before the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Quebec and in Canada, warnings of the slippery slope were met with mockery and contempt from those who embraced medical suicide with open arms.

Today, slightly more than a year after the Quebec bill that legalized euthanasia came into force, we see the first obvious signs of the slippery slope: we have gone from exception to promotion. Already the “end of life” criterion is presented as discrimination which prevents people with disabilities from committing suicide, implying that their living conditions justify their desire to die.

Click here to read the full article.

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Euthanasia: toxic messages feeding fear

by Paul Russell, The Spectator Australia, 10 June 2017

Mr Russell is the Founder and Director of HOPE, a leading Australian group opposing the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Putting aside the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide and the spectre of elder abuse for a moment, I am genuinely concerned about the treatment of our elders in Australia and most if not all of the Western world. Aging and the effects of aging make our elders, generally speaking, passive recipients of social policy as well as of the negative tropes that seem to me to be increasing in our media.

And here comes the kicker:

Pro-euthanasia British neurosurgeon, Henry Marsh in an article in The Sunday Times responded to anti-euthanasia messages about risks to the elderly saying that, “They argue that grannies will be made to commit suicide,” he said. “Even if a few grannies get bullied into it, isn’t that the price worth paying for all the people who could die with dignity?”

Got that? It’s “the price worth paying”.

Click here to read the full article.

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Euthanasia advocates’ survey still shabby, still wrong

Media release, Care Alliance, 2 June 2017

Euthanasia advocates’ survey still shabby, still wrong

Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, says he is disappointed that the New Zealand Medical Journal has chosen to publish an article by Phillipa Malpas, Mike Wilson and Pam Oliver based on their flawed 2015 survey.

Mr Jansen said the only good thing about the new article is that Drs Malpas and Oliver have disclosed upfront that they are members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. “They did not do that in the original survey. In November 2015 the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (UAHPEC) had to concede that ‘that there were some deficiencies in the processes surrounding the approval of protocol 015470’.”

“Back in May 2016 I said that their initial research paper was a ‘Shabby conclusion to a deceptive beginning’. It was flawed in its methodology, flawed in its ethics approval and flawed in its cherry-picking analysis.”

“Their latest paper cannot overcome those flaws,” said Mr Jansen. He noted that a critique of the research by eight highly-qualified medical, social and ethics experts last year concluded that ‘The myriad flaws in the survey’s design, data selection, interpretation and reporting mean this research paper is of little or no value in understanding New Zealand doctors’ and nurses’ attitudes towards legalising “assisted dying”.’

Mr Jansen said the researchers’ bias is made clear by their ‘perceived likelihood that AD may be legalised in New Zealand soon.’ “In fact, analysis of 21,277 submissions to the Health Select Committee’s investigation showed that 77 percent were opposed to the legalisation of euthanasia in New Zealand.”

ENDS

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Physician-Assisted Suicide Tells People Like Me That Our Lives Are No Longer Worth Living

by Zachary D. Schmoll, The Public Discourse, 8 May 2017

Mr Schmoll is a PhD student.

As a man with a physical disability, I need a lot of help to perform many basic daily activities. I still consider myself to be an independent thinker, but my physical independence is substantially limited by my severely reduced muscle strength. I need help to drive my van, get dressed, prepare my meals, and complete other daily tasks. For me, this is life. For many others, this level of dependence is motivation to consider bringing life to an end.

In a 2005 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, out of thirty-five individual cases of people who were seriously considering physician-assisted suicide, twenty-three of the patients were motivated to pursue a hastened death because of a loss of bodily function. Twenty-two of these patients were motivated by a loss of sense of self, while twenty-one of them expressed fears about future quality of life and dying. To put this number in context, only fourteen of them were motivated to end their lives because of pain or the side effects of pain medications. Instead, each of the most highly cited reasons for pursuing physician-assisted suicide are related to issues of dependence and independence. Our society tells us that autonomy is what makes life worth living. Once these patients began to lose bodily function, they were told that they were also losing their identity and quality of life.

Click here to read the full article.

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An empty chair, a missing Premier, a poignant metaphor

by Paul Russell, The Spectator, 12 April 2017

Mr Russell is the Director of HOPE, a leading anti-euthanasia group in Australia. In this article he reflects on the recent Melbourne performances of Assisted Suicide: The Musical (created and starring the legendary Liz Carr).

Part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Liz’s show is incredibly funny as it is poignant. Simply put; it is a great night out designed to make people think about the issue of assisted suicide. Pegged by Liz as a ‘Ted Talk with show tunes’ the show is a rollicking feast of songs in the great tradition of show tunes interspersed with Liz talking to the audience about her experiences and concerns about assisted suicide.

Each night in the auditorium a lonely, empty chair faces Liz and the cast during each performance. A sign on the chair reads: “Following an invitation from Liz Carr and Company – RESERVED – Premier Daniel Andrews.”

The chair has remained empty.

Readers will instantly understand that the Premier is an important figure in such debates having the ‘yeah or nay’ on what is debated in the parliament and what debate time is allocated. Moreso for Daniel Andrews in this instance because the move towards an assisted suicide bill expected to be introduced later this year was his call, with his endorsement and his support.

Click here to read the full article.

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Health Select Committee: 77% of Submissions Oppose Euthanasia

Media release, Care Alliance, 5 May 2017

Health Select Committee: 77% of Submissions Oppose Euthanasia

Analysis of 21,277 submissions to the Health Select Committee’s investigation into end of life issues shows that 16,411 opposed the legalisation of euthanasia, while 4,142 supported legalisation.

Releasing the analysis today Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, said “the submissions reflect the depth and breadth of public attitudes about euthanasia.  We believe it is the largest number of submissions ever received by a Select Committee and, critically, they were unique rather than ‘postcard’ or ‘form’ submissions.”

“We became aware last year that pro-euthanasia advocates were spreading a message that opposing submissions did not meet their standards for length, uniqueness or the use of religious arguments. We thought that was disrespectful to the thousands of New Zealanders who took the time and effort to share their views with Parliament, for and against. So we set to work to find out the facts.”

Care Alliance volunteers read every submission to record views on legalising euthanasia, the length of the submission, and whether or not religious arguments were used by the submitter.  This work was completed in April, and a random sample from the full analysis was checked by an independent research company. It concluded that “we can say with at least 95% confidence that the overall classification percentages are accurate within no more than 0.4% variation.”

The Health Select Committee investigation began in response to a petition presented to Parliament in June 2015.

“Quite simply, the Voluntary Euthanasia Society were able to get 8,975 signatures on a petition, but could muster less than half that number in actual submissions,” said Mr Jansen.  “By contrast, 16,411 people took the opportunity to say no to euthanasia.”

Opposition to euthanasia was dominant across all submission lengths. For example, of the submissions longer than one page, 1,510 submissions opposed euthanasia while 523 supported its legalisation.

Mr Jansen added that “While the Care Alliance never argues this issue from a faith perspective, we respect the right of any New Zealander to do so, for or against, if they wish.  That is a real and existing right protected by the Bill of Rights Act. In the event, more than 82 percent of submissions opposed to euthanasia contained no reference to religious arguments.”

Mr Jansen said that many of the submissions, for and against, contained deeply moving personal stories regarding illness, dying and suicide. “The Select Committee has been provided with incredible testimony. We trust that they will hear that there is much more that needs to be done to improve mental health, disability and end of life services in New Zealand, but that the overwhelming majority of submitters say that euthanasia is not a solution.”

Click here to read the full analysis.