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Why Are Assisted Suicide Bills Continuously Failing In The US?

A blog post in HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, 6 September 2017

HOPE is a coalition of groups and individuals who oppose the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide and support measures that will make euthanasia and assisted suicide unthinkable. 

23 consecutive failures at legislating in 2017 with no bill anywhere being successful. 

We are led to believe that change is not only inevitable but that it is essentially benign. Not so on either count. If it were so, then why, in the many bills presented in Australian Parliaments over the last few decades (I recently counted 44), have none succeeded?

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Assisted dying laws pose a grave risk to the vulnerable

by Joel Hodge, The Age, 7 September 2017

Joel Hodge is a senior lecturer in the School of Theology at Australian Catholic University.

In a study of states with euthanasia law, published in Current Oncology, Dr J. Pereira writes that “laws and safeguards are regularly ignored and transgressed in all the jurisdictions and that transgressions are not prosecuted. For example, about 900 people annually are administered lethal substances without having given explicit consent, and in one jurisdiction, almost 50 per cent of cases of euthanasia are not reported.”

It is easy to underestimate the vulnerability of the elderly and dying, and the delicate human dynamics involved in caring for them. Whenever we are seriously ill, we are placed in a precarious position, heavily dependent on others and confronting all manner of fears.

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The Contagion of Euthanasia and the Corruption of Compassion

by Arthur Goldberg and Shimon Cowen, The Public Discourse, 11 September 2017

Mr Goldberg is Co-Director of the American-based Jewish Institute for Global Awareness. Mr Cowen is Director of the Institute for Judaism and Civilization in Melbourne, Australia.

Humans do not live in isolation. The more our culture sends messages that some lives are less valuable than others, the more some people will internalize messages to end their lives. A psychological contagion of suicide is unleashed by euthanasia and assisted suicide laws. Condoning suicide in one circumstance implicitly condones it across the board. The wrong of suicide is no longer absolute: death is made a reasonable—even the expected—response to pain, misfortune, and sadness.

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Narelle Henson: Complex matters of life and death

by Narelle Henson, Waikato Times, 15 September 2017

In fact, ACT’s David Seymour dismissed O’Connor’s claim using the example of suicidal young people, a group we are rightly fighting desperately to save in New Zealand. But in Belgium where euthanasia is legal, a suicidal young woman won the right to euthanasia. Why? Because the courts agree that death is a reasonable and good response to suffering – physical or mental.

When compassion means allowing some to choose death to relieve suffering, how can it also mean convincing others to live through it?

If we cannot answer these questions, then surely, we have to face the fact that what we are fighting with one hand, we are feeding with the other.

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Words Matter

A blog post from HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, 4 September 2017

HOPE is a coalition of groups and individuals who oppose the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide and support measures that will make euthanasia and assisted suicide unthinkable. 

Unmistakeably, [sic] in acts of euthanasia, the subject person’s life is ended by the direct and deliberate action of a doctor who, by his or her actions, kills the person. Unmistakably also, a doctor who provides assistance (usually in the form of a prescribed lethal dose) so as to enable a person to take their own life using that substance, assists in their suicide.

Yet repeatedly over recent years we have seen the adoption of euphemisms that attempt to disguise these realities. Bill titles worldwide such as, ‘Death with Dignity’, ‘Dying with Dignity’, ‘End of Life Options’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Patient Choice at the End of Life’ have obfuscated the truth.

The intention is clear: words like ‘euthanasia’ and even ‘suicide’ in this context have a clear ‘yuk factor’. That may be so. But surely the public have a right to the truth and the political classes, an obligation to legislate factually. Options? Choices? Dignity? Really?

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Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide: The 2017 General Election

David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill – which seeks to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide – still awaits debate in Parliament, which will take place sometime after our general election on 23 September 2017.

Ultimately, the outcome of Seymour’s Bill will be determined by the 121 Members of Parliament (MPs) that will be elected or re-elected to Parliament after the election. The political candidates and parties you vote for and where they stand on this issue will influence how many votes are for or against Seymour’s Bill.

With the election less than two weeks away, the Care Alliance invites you to consider euthanasia and assisted suicide as an election issue to take into account when you are deciding who to vote for.

See where the Party Leaders stand.

(Image Source: Value Your Vote 2017: Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide, Family First NZ.)

 

What can you do?

  • Write to or email your local candidates to ask them where they stand on this issue.
  • Drop by your local MPs office and say that this is an important issue for you.
  • Encourage friends and family members who can also vote in this election to consider this issue when they vote.

 

For more information on the issue, check out:

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Why I’ll be voting no to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017

by Walt Secord, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 September 2017

Walt Secord is NSW Shadow Health Minister for Health and Deputy Opposition leader in the NSW Legislative Council.

I saw first-hand the experiences of those in our nation’s nursing homes and how it was almost impossible – despite the best intentions – to protect the most vulnerable from manipulation and exploitation.

But on balance, I believe parliamentarians cannot codify legislation on how to end a human life.

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.

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Simon O’Connor: Why we didn’t back euthanasia bill

by Simon O’Connor, The New Zealand Herald, 10 August 2017

Simon O’Connor is National MP for Tamaki and chaired Parliament’s Health Select Committee, which has recommended no action be taken on the petition of Maryan Street and 8,974 others to allow medically-assisted dying in the event of terminal illness or unbearable suffering.

I recognise that some people believe assisted suicide and euthanasia are a right, that it is a matter of self-determination and personal autonomy. However, New Zealand is not four million people living isolated from one another, but a broad inclusive society. The actions taken by each member of society affect the lives of others around them.

What started with good intentions and the pursuit of autonomy will have widespread ramifications and some of the most vulnerable people in our society already struggle to be heard.

Whatever your view on assisted suicide and euthanasia, I would like to encourage everyone to read the report of the health committee. This topic is very complicated and deserves more than a quick headline.

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