Media Release Sunday 11th June 2017
Right to life asks how can members of parliament seriously support the government’s suicide prevention strategy and at the same time support the end of life choice bill which if passed will have the government paying doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide?
Right to Life believes that Parliament should defeat the contentious “End of Life Choice” bill at its first reading and get serious about reducing New Zealand’s horrific suicide rate.
The government is committed to reducing the high rate of suicide in New Zealand. In 2015/16, 579 people committed suicide, 59 were teenagers between the age of 10 and 19. We have the second highest rate of youth suicide in the OECD. the government recognises that suicide hurts families and communities.
Respect for the sanctity of life has been the foundation ethic for the practice of medicine for more than 2000 years. This ethic is sacrosanct and it is there for the protection of the community. The ethic recognises the intrinsic dignity of every human being. Suicide, self murder is always wrong and can never be justified.
New Zealand has had a long-term commitment to suicide prevention, with current activity guided by the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006–2016. The government recognizes that suicides hurt families and communities.
Why then is Parliament preparing to debate the End of Life Choice bill of the Hon David Seymour, that if passed would allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide? That Minister refuses to recognise that for a doctor to assist a patient to kill himself or herself, is not suicide and hides the criminal killing under the euphemism, ‘medical aid in dying”. The Minister promotes his contentious and dangerous bill on the grounds of recognising “autonomy, my body and the right to choose”. This bill if passed would increase the number of suicides in New Zealand and increase the pain of families and communities.
The message that Parliament will be giving to the community and youth, is that Parliament approves of suicide and recognises your right to kill yourself if you are finding life intolerable. If passed the legislation would also recognise that there are some lives not worthy of living.
The Ministry of Health is currently considering submissions from the community on formulating a new Suicide Prevention Strategy. The Ministry in its discussion paper states that suicide is a serious concern for New Zealand communities. Right to Life requests on behalf of the most vulnerable members of our community, the aged, the disabled and the seriously ill that Parliament upholds the Crimes Act which makes assisting or facilitating suicide a serious crime by voting decisively against the dangerous “End of Life Choice bill” at its first reading. It simply has no place in our Parliament.
Right to Life.