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Eight Reasons To Oppose Assisted Suicide

With just two weeks left to make a submission to the Health Select Committee’s investigation of the factors that contribute to the desire to end one’s life, please consider the eight reasons to oppose assisted suicide:

  • Legal safeguards cannot protect the vulnerable from euthanasia abuses.
  • Euthanasia and assisted suicide are the ultimate tool for elder abuse.
  • It sends a hypocritical message about suicide.
  • The killing always increases.
  • Diagnosis and prognosis can be mistaken.
  • An easy death is not guaranteed.
  • it compromises palliative care.
  • Trust in doctors and nurses falls.

Click here for the full list and explanations.

Click here to learn how easy it is to make a submission.

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An Open Letter to All Healthcare Professionals

by Naomi Barrow, Huffington Post, 14 January 2016

Thank you to the nurses who looked after Mum. Thank you for affording her so much dignity right up until her final day. Thank you for always being so cheerful and chatty, no matter if we were your first or tenth family of the day. Thank you for talking to my Dad as well as my Mum. Thank you for chatting to us, her children, reassuring us with your smiles and kind natures. 

Thank you to the nurses in the hospital when we visited Mum each time. Whatever ward we were on, whatever time of day or night we could always find one of you when we needed you. Thank you for giving Mum so much care and attention even in the early hours of the morning when you would probably have rather been in bed. Thank you for taking the time to talk to Dad, to go through medications and charts with him and give him all the time he needed when you no doubt had other patients to see. Thank you to the nurse who spoke to my brother and I on the night Mum was in a coma – you were rushed off your feet but took the time to speak to us and let us know where you were if we needed you.

Thank you to all the health care assistants. You may think your work went unnoticed, but not by us. We saw what an excellent relationship you built up with Mum. We saw you encourage her to walk again. We saw you help her wash and dress. We saw you provide her with dignity in a truly horrendous time.

Click here to read the full article.

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UK: Patients at end of life face a postcode lottery doctors warn

by Andrew Gregory, Daily Mirror, 14 January 2016

Ensuring everyone has access to high-quality palliative care when they need it is not easy, but it is essential. We can, and should, always strive to do better.

A review of end of life care services in the United Kingdom (conducted by the British Medical Association and social research agency TNS BRMB) found that while there were “pockets of excellence”, there are significant differences between areas and between people dying of different conditions.

Dr Ian Wilson, BMA representative body chair, said: “The UK has led the world in developing comprehensive and holistic care for people whose lives are coming to an end.

“Yet this new research provides further evidence that the provision of end of life care remains variable, dependent on a patient’s geographical location, their condition, and their knowledge of local services.

“One member of the public who had recently suffered a bereavement described the quality of end of life care as a postcode lottery – a sentiment shared by the public and doctors alike. This is completely unacceptable.

Click here to read the full article.

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Assisted Suicide Bill Dies in New Jersey Senate

by Diane Coleman, Not Dead Yet, 13 January 2016

Not Dead Yet, the American disability rights group that opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide, is celebrating the failure of an Oregon-type bill to pass in New Jersey.

“A bi-partisan group of New Jersey Senators took the time to listen to the disability-rights community and to understand why it is important that doctor-prescribed suicide not become law in New Jersey,” continued Democratic Senator Peter Barnes. “It became clear that this bill would have a detrimental impact on vulnerable populations and expose them to abuse, coercion and possible denial of health care because it costs more than suicide drugs. While the bill’s few, vocal supporters educated legislators as to their personal concerns, it became clear that there are other solutions than doctor-prescribed suicide to address end-of-life pain.”

Click here to read more.

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Liberals accused of ‘arbitrarily’ withholding assisted suicide report by expert panel

National Post, 12 January 2016

The Canadian Supreme Court decision in Carter v Canada was not the end of the debate about assisted suicide in that country, just the end of the beginning.

The Court required the Federal Parliament to institute a law that met its requirements within 12 months, but that is increasingly unlikely.

The Liberal government is being urged to immediately release a report it received a month ago from a panel of experts that studied the politically charged issue of doctor-assisted suicide.

One group, concerned by the prospect of a wide-open regime of euthanasia in Canada, said Tuesday it appears the government is deliberately sitting on the report.

And the Conservative opposition says the government has provided no reason for why the report by “distinguished Canadians” is being “arbitrarily” withheld.

But a spokesman in the Justice Department said the government is committed to releasing the report “soon.” 

The call for the report’s release comes as the government on Tuesday quietly named 11 MPs to join senators on a special joint parliamentary committee responsible for shaping federal legislation on assisted dying.

Click here to read the full article.

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New suicide prevention resource from the Mental Health Foundation

Mental Health Foundation, 2 December 2015

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) has released its newest resource – Are you worried someone is thinking of suicide? Advice for families, whānau and friends.

“We all have a role to play in preventing suicide,” MHF chief executive Judi Clements says. “Family and friends are often the first to notice when something is wrong, and we often hear that people in that situation are worried about saying the wrong thing and don’t know where to go for help.

“This resource will guide families, whānau and friends to identify warning signs, know who is most at risk and find the right help and support when someone is in distress.”

Click here to read more.

Click here to download Worried someone is thinking of suicide?

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Doctor’s work helping others at the end of their lives recognised

by Georgia Forrester, Manawatu Standard, 31 December 2015

Dr Simon Allan of Palmerston North was made an officer of the Order of New Zealand in the New Years Honours list for his services over 40 years to the development of palliative care.

While it was a field where a lot of people did not want to work in, there was “great satisfaction” in helping people and meeting a great need in the community.

“As a good society, we look after people who are very vulnerable which includes dying people and people who are sick.”

Allan started as the acting medical director at Arohanui Hospice in 1995. He has been the director of palliative care since 2005. 

He was a key player in the development of the Palliative Care Partnership, a collaborative model for integrated palliative care between Arohanui Hospice and general practice teams, which has been implemented in other regions in New Zealand.

Allan was instrumental in setting up the education and research unit for palliative care and has been has been involved an international collaborative to research end of life care.

Click here to read the full article.


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Beware of Vultures: Senator Jennifer Fielder on Compassion & Choices

by Montana State Senator Jennifer Fielder, Sanders County Ledger, 21 December 2013

In 2013 Compassion & Choices Montana campaigned for a law that would have introduced Oregon-style assisted suicide. The bill failed.

As your Senator one of my main duties is to sort out who wants your money, or a change in a law, and why. Getting to the bottom of it takes work. It would certainly help if well-intentioned citizens would do a little more research before clamoring onto any particular bandwagons as well.

We have to be careful not to be fooled by catchy slogans, shallow campaign propaganda, biased media reports, or plays on our emotions which, too often, conceal a multitude of hidden agendas. 

For example, it seems odd that the top lobby spender in Montana this year was Compassion and Choices, a “nonprofit” group that spent $160,356 advocating for legalization of assisted suicide.

Click here to read the full article.

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A behind the scenes look at Liz Carr’s Suicide the Musical

by Joe Turnbull, Disability Arts Online, 16 October 2015

Sometimes you’ve just got to laugh – and clap and sing along.

British comedian (and disability rights activist) Liz Carr is working on a new show: Assisted Suicide The Musical.

Musical theatre has become a metaphor in the piece, it’s almost a character in its own  right. Because musical theatre is a world of glitz and glamour, vitality and health, everything is sparkly in musical theatre world. But also in musicals you go along and you clap along and sing along and you almost don’t know what you’re singing along to.

I feel that’s a lot about what the debate about assisted suicide is – people think it’s about choice, and that it’s a good thing – and they clap along and sing along but they don’t really realise what they’re singing and they haven’t really thought about the lyrics, they’ve just been swept along by it. That’s what the issue has become; we just clap along but we really need to think about it.

Click here to read the full article.


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Campaign for ‘last wish’ pills

Southland Times, 8 January 2016

The Dutch Society for a Voluntary End Of Life is now campaigning for suicide pills to become available automatically to everybody over 70 on the basis of a request to a doctor or pharmacist.

Doctors are concerned that medically assisted killing is increasingly seen as a consumer right and they fear that the campaign will create ‘‘an obligation for the doctor to cooperate’’ on demand, leading to abuse of euthanasia or an acceptance that it is the most appropriate social response to old age.

In 2014, 5306 Dutch people, including patients who were 41 mentally ill, persuaded their doctors to administer lethal doses of drugs to end their lives because of ‘‘unbearable’’ pain.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to read an Open Letter to New Zealanders: Doctors say no to assisted suicide.