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Politicians wrestle with doctors’ consciences in Victoria

by Paul Russell, MercatorNet, 20 April 2017

Would it be an “obstruction” if a doctor actively attempted to dissuade a person away from assisted suicide or euthanasia – even if only for a short time – for the sake of trying a different approach to their illness or their pain management? The article is silent on this as I expect will be the report. Yet precisely that kind of ethical and moral disuassion saved the life of Janette Hall in Oregon who has survived her prognosis by 14 years after taking the sound advice of her doctor.

Could it not also be the case that even a doctor who held no such conscientious objection might not fall foul of “obstruction” by way of wise advice to the effect that maybe waiting for a little while – for a myriad of good reasons – might not be a better course of action?

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Palliative care experts say euthanasia goes against core belief that death and dying are ‘natural part of life’

by Hawke’s Bay Today, 19 May 2018

We don’t talk enough about dying and we need to change that. We think it would help if people knew a bit more about the actual process of dying and what to expect
We suspect a lot of the current debate is fueled by fear of the unknown, and a lack of information about what care is available and what actually happens when someone dies.

“In our experience a good safe death is peaceful, dignified and a natural process.

“People advocating for a law change talk about choice, compassion, and dignity, as if euthanasia were the only way to achieve these things. But these are the founding tenets of Hospice services: you can have choice, compassion, and dignity at the end of your life, and you don’t have to kill yourself for them, or have someone kill you to achieve this.”

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Leading Disability Rights Campaigner Warns Against the Introduction of Assisted Suicide

by Care for Life, 11 May 2018

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said that removing universal safeguards was dangerous and risked vulnerable and disabled people becoming “collateral damage” as no law was “perfect”.

Tanni was born with spina-bifida and is a wheelchair user. She is one of the UK’s most successful disabled athletes, winning 11 Paralympic gold medals and breaking 30 records.

In a deeply personal section she talked how it was possible for any of disable person to feel low and a burden on their friends and family. “The voices of disabled people, particularly matter on this subject of life and death. The simple truth is that there is no safe law for assisted suicide and disabled people are particularly vulnerable if such a law is passed. ”

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Opinion polarised on End of Life Choice Bill

by Nicki Harper, Hawke’s Bay Today, 19 May 2018

“What everybody is trying to do deal with, like me, is that while it’s true there are some people who have difficult deaths is legislation the right mechanism to help those people?” said Yule.

In an effort to gather as much information as he could, he said he had talked to many people on both sides of the debate, but that his final decision once the bill was in its final form would not be made on the issue of freedom of choice.

“It will be made on whether there is undue suffering potentially being endured and whether that is acceptable or not.

“It’s a moral dilemma around the very big call to take someone’s life early versus the suffering they may be under – I think that will be the crunch of it when it comes to the select committee.”

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The deadly push for assisted suicide

by Julie Hocker, The Washington Times, 13 May 2018

First, assisted suicide bills create a scale to determine those individuals a state will protect and those who are deemed less valuable. With a yardstick created by well-paid death advocates, doctors will legally determine if a fellow New Yorker fits into the category of “better off dead.”

And while proponents of this bill will tell you the bill addresses intolerable suffering, 20 years of data from Oregon (the “pioneer state” for assisted suicide) tell us that three out of four people who ask their doctors for help committing suicide do so because they feel they have become too great a burden to their loved ones or miss participating in daily activities without assistance.

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The dangerous ideology of ‘rational suicide’

by Michael Cook, MercatorNet, 11 May 2018

Although Dr Goodall was healthy enough, considering his age, he did not seem well supported in day-to-day life. The turning point for him seemed to be a fall in his one-bedroom flat. Although he did not break any bones, he was unable to get up from the floor and remained there for two days. Two days without visitors, not even relatives? Something was wrong.

Although the extensive media coverage about his decision focused on airport hugs from his grandsons, Goodall’s family life must have been less than satisfactory. He had been through three marriages. None of his four children and 12 grandchildren accompanied him on his trip to Switzerland. Instead, his travelling companion was the West Australian coordinator of Exit.

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Record number of submissions on euthanasia bill forces committee to delay its report

by Isaac Davison, The New Zealand Herald, 21 May 2018

Public hearings begin today on the End of Life Choice Bill, and so far 35,000 submissions have been received.

The committee was initially given nine months to hear the submissions, an extension on the usual six months. It has now pushed the deadline back another three months, to March, to cope with the huge workload.

Select committees usually choose which submitters they want to hear from in person, but because of the significance of the legislation the Justice Committee has decided to hear from anyone who wants to make an oral submission.

So far, 3500 people have said they want to appear in person.

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What does euthanasia mean for those who want to live?

by James Eglinton, The Sunday Herald, 17 May 2018

A society that legalises it automatically creates a new pair of choices for all of its citizens. These choices – to stop living, or to carry on living – are both novelties occasioned by the legalisation of euthanasia. If the terminally ill are granted the right to die, every terminally ill person who declines this new possibility is necessarily making the counter-choice to carry on living. The same is true regardless of which group is given the right to choose death: the old, the ill, the depressed, the poor, and so on.

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I am a disabled person and I don’t back the right to die for one very important reason

by James Moore, Independent, 5 October 2017

I am aware that even the late Professor Stephen Hawking shifted his position on assisted suicide, arguing in a BBC interview that “to keep someone alive against their wishes is the ultimate indignity” and stating that he would consider assisted suicide were he in “great pain or felt I had nothing more to contribute but was just a burden to those around me”. 

But that comment about being a burden troubles me. It’s very possible that an otherwise more or less happy disabled person could suddenly find themselves in a difficult situation with family or carers, and could, as a result, start to become so convinced that they were a “burden” that they might feel the same way when with the proper support they wouldn’t dream of it. 

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Commentary: Shortening life to end suffering is troubling

by Thomas J. Madejski, Times Union, 28 April 2018

Compelling arguments have not been made for medicine to change its footing and to incorporate the active shortening of life into the norms of medical practice. Although relief of suffering has always been a fundamental duty in medical practice, relief of suffering through shortening of life has not.

They have great apprehension that such a measure would negatively impact health care among racial and ethnic minorities and the physically disabled.

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