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Wendi Wicks: Justice committee members all voted for Seymour’s bill

by Wendi Wicks, The New Zealand Herald, 22 December 2017

This bill is literally a matter of life and death. It’s not a time to cut corners, or do backroom deals for procedural advantage. We need to ensure choice is not only a choice to die, and not make life for disabled and other at-risk people even more risky. It’s a time to take the time to listen and think very carefully.

 Is it going to be an open, transparent and fair hearing of all New Zealanders who want to have their say?

When you come from a 25 per cent majority constituency (disabled people) who are alarmed to be directly in the loosey-goosey eligibility criteria cross hairs of this bill, open fair and transparent select committee dealings are minimum standard.

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The Alarming Trend Of Bullying Hospitals And Hospices Into Assisted Suicide

by Dr Will Johnston, Huffpost, 29 January 2018

Before they got their way in the Canadian Supreme Court, the public posture of euthanasia advocates was one of caution, reassurance and limitation of objectives. After their victory, partisans of the medical killing movement have become impatient with individuals or institutions who want no part in suicide and euthanasia. Activists recommend expanding access to include all the people who were strategically excluded from the plan that had been sold to the public: children, people with chronic nonfatal conditions, the physically disabled, the cognitively disabled, psychiatric patients.

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‘Death with dignity’ devalues disability

by Mike Volkman, Times Union, 27 November 2017

What does it mean to die with dignity? Or the opposite, what is death without dignity or with indignity? There is no legal definition. It is a phrase people like to use with the hope that it is sufficient and accepted. Remember the bit George Carlin did in 1992 about euphemisms? They hide the truth.

Legislative bodies should come up with legal definitions for the term. They should specify what constitutes dignified ways of dying. When they come to define what are undignified ways of dying, the challenge is how to do it without describing circumstances that go with disability. Because if they can’t get around that, then it makes one thing perfectly clear.

That one thing is that it is in the interests of the state to protect all lives except those of people with disabilities. If the presence of a disability, whether it is from birth or from later acquisition, makes it justifiable to place a value judgment on a person for a life-or-death decision, that makes an entire class of people subject to a double standard. That is state-sponsored bigotry allowing up to one sixth of the population to be discarded and unprotected.

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Disabled lives are worth living – euthanasia implies otherwise

by Claire Freeman, Stuff, 15 December 2017

While it is commendable that we are discussing euthanasia, we need to be extremely careful not to make assumptions about the quality of life of others like myself – people with grievous and irremediable medical conditions.

When the majority of health professionals believe that lives like mine are not worth living, we have a problem.

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Dr Sinead Donnelly: Palliative medicine uses morphine with care

by Sinead Donnelly, The New Zealand Herald, 15 December 2017

Politicians do great harm to the perception of medical practice, and instil unnecessary fear and anxiety in the minds of the public, by promulgating, on national television, incorrect, misleading and unsubstantiated statements.

“By promoting the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide, David Seymour’s bill is seeking to change the nature of our medical profession from ‘care always’ to ‘why be careful!'”

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Making Victoria’s euthanasia laws: a process to be shunned

by Robert Clark, The Spectator Australia, 7 December 2017

Regrettably, in Victoria, for many MPs, responsibility was overborne by politics.  The drive to implement the Parliamentary Committee’s recommendation on “voluntary assisted dying” came from a Premier seeking to reposition his party on the political spectrum and to revive his waning popularity, who then used every leverage at his disposal to induce and coerce his party’s MPs to vote for the bill despite party rules allowing a free vote.  Only a brave few government MPs felt able to resist.

If ever anyone wanted an example of how not to legislate on a complex and profound issue like this, Victoria has provided it. It has been a process more befitting a two-bit banana republic than what purports to be a mature Westminster democracy.

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Care Alliance Welcomes Upcoming Debate on EOLC Bill

Care Alliance Press Release, 13 December 2017

The Care Alliance welcomes the upcoming debate about euthanasia and assisted suicide in New Zealand following the decision by MPs to move David Seymour’s End of Life Choice bill through to Select Committee.

“We look forward to a full and robust consultation,” says Care Alliance spokesperson Dr Peter Thirkell. “We will be putting our efforts into the Select Committee process and showing the bill up for all of its flaws.”

“We urge all groups that will be placed at risk by this bill to speak out and make their views known to the Select Committee.”

 

For all media enquiries please contact: 

Dr Peter Thirkell

Care Alliance Secretary

secretary@carealliance.org.nz

027 563-5086

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Watching my uncle die – and his mood swings – confirmed my opposition to euthanasia

by Mike Yardley, Stuff, 5 December 2017

It’s the unintended consequences of allowing euthanasia that particularly perturb me, whereby shifting societal values would make seniors and the disabled increasingly feel like a financial and emotional burden, and obliged to seek termination.

Such coercion might be undetectable, but how can you possibly safeguard against it? David Seymour is welcome to try and convince me.

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Care Alliance Welcomes Health Select Committee Report

Media Release, 23 November 2017

The legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Victoria, by the narrowest of margins, introduces an unsafe and unnecessary practice into the heart of their healthcare practice, says Dr Peter Thirkell, Spokesperson for the Care Alliance. Australian medical organisations have stated on numerous occasions that such laws are inherently unsafe, and in the words of the Australian Medical Association mark “a significant shift in medical practice in Victoria.”

The result in Victoria is contrary to what happened in New South Wales just a week earlier where parliamentarians had the wisdom and courage to vote down a similar bill. As NSW Labour health spokesman Walt Secord notes, “It is not possible to put in place sufficient safeguards and protections to prevent abuses of these laws. And this is before we consider the invidious pressures of medical costs, financial burdens on families or the prospect of manipulation in regard to inheritances.”

The Victorian decision also flies in the face of advice from Palliative Care Victoria to their own parliamentary inquiry, opposing the legalisation of euthanasia or assisted suicide and saying that what it really needs is more money to be spent on palliative care. The Care Alliance is reassured by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s promise just yesterday to undertake work on finding a more sustainable model for funding palliative care in New Zealand. This echoes the conclusions of the recent New Zealand Health Select Committee report, which could not recommend any change in the law but rather urged the Government to better support the work and funding of palliative care providers.

Dr Thirkell concludes, “Victoria has ignored the weight of international evidence. It’s not where we start with euthanasia but where a law change would take us – that is the problem. The evidence is clear – where legislation has passed there are quickly pressures to extend it.” The Care Alliance calls on MPs to look carefully at the international evidence while also taking proper account of our own unique context. New Zealand medical, palliative, and hospice organisations all oppose such legislation, as well as 80% of more than 22,000 submissions to the Health Select Committee last year. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are both dangerous and unnecessary.

ENDS

Media contact

Peter Thirkell

027 563-5086

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I want to care for people, not kill them

by Dr John Obeid, The Daily Telegraph, 16 November 2017

It is not uncommon for older patients approaching death or other patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness to go through a period of distress or depression as they strive to cope with their prognosis, the fear of the unknown and loss of their independence.

This is when our patients need us most. It is when as doctors and nurses we are called upon to not just cure in a physical sense but also provide healing in a holistic way, through giving our time and compassionate care to patients. It is unthinkable that we would assist such vulnerable patients with suicide.

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