27 February 2014
Group Manager Strategy and Standards,
Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners,
Dear Ms McKeogh,
Maryan Street’s End of Life Choices Bill
Thank you for your reply of 30 October 2014. Thank you for clarifying your College’s position on euthanasia and for giving consideration to our request that your members write to the Hon David Cunliffe concerning Maryan Street’s Bill.
We are encouraged to write to you again following the decision made by the Royal College of General Practitioners in the United Kingdom, reaffirming the College’s opposition to euthanasia i.e. doctors being permitted to kill their patients or assisting in their suicide. Dr Clare Gerada, Chairperson of the Royal College stated that this was the widest consultation ever taken by the College; there were 1,700 responses from doctors with 77 per cent being opposed to any change to their position which is to oppose euthanasia.
Right to Life wishes to request that your College give serious consideration to following the example of the Royal College by adopting a strong stance against euthanasia. It is imperative for the future of the medical profession that it upholds and protects the ethics of the profession founded on respect for the sanctity of life of every human person from conception to natural death.
It would be a profound tragedy for the medical profession and for our community if doctors betrayed their ethics by accepting the killing of the patient as a treatment option. Patients could never be sure if their doctor was going to cure them or kill them.
Proponents of euthanasia contend that euthanasia is about compassion and relieving intolerable pain. We know that this is untrue; the legislation recently passed by the Parliament in Belgium not only allowed for the killing of sick children, it also included patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002. In 2012 there were reported 1432 cases of euthanasia, it is understood that 32 per cent of these patients did not request to be killed and 50 per cent were not reported. When families place their elderly into care, how can they be sure that those entrusted with their care don’t kill them?
It is 70 years since Nazi Germany introduced the T4 Euthanasia programme. It started off with small beginnings; the killing of a disabled child on Hitler’s orders in September 1939 and culminated in the killing of 250,000 German patients in asylums and hospitals. Included in this figure are 5000 to 8,000 disabled children. Hitler said,”the cost of keeping them alive in hospitals and asylums was too great.”This programme of euthanasia culminated with the killing of six million Jews.
In conclusion the adoption by your College of a public stand in opposition to euthanasia would be greatly reassuring for the community. It would also discourage Parliament from supporting this life threatening bill of Maryan Street.