by Bob McCoskrie, Manukau Courier, 30 November 2016
Mr McCoskrie is National Director of Family First, a member of the Care Alliance. In this opinion piece he argues that “opposing euthanasia does not mean that a person opposes compassion.”
Patients facing death have a fundamental human right – a right to receive the very best palliative care, love and support that we can give to alleviate the ‘intolerable suffering’ that they fear. This is real death with dignity. Assisting suicide is not the answer.
Assisted suicide would place large numbers of vulnerable people at risk – in particular those who are depressed, elderly, sick, disabled, those experiencing chronic illness, limited access to good medical care, and those who feel themselves to be under emotional or financial pressure to request early death.
Patients, even those without a terminal illness, may come to feel euthanasia would be “the right thing to do”, they have “had a good innings”, and they do not want to be a “burden” to their nearest and dearest. It won’t be about the ‘right to die’ but the ‘duty to die’.
Those concerned about the rights of people with disabilities are right to be concerned. A disability rights group in NZ said “There are endless ways of telling disabled people time and time again that their life has no value.”
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