The following letter has been sent to all NZ MP’s.
End of Life Choice Bill
I wish to bring to your attention for your consideration important information as Parliament considers the third reading of the contentious End of Life Choice Bill, [EOLCB].
Right to Life requests that in order to protect the vulnerable in our community that you vote against the EOLCB at its third reading on 13th November for the following reasons.
Benjamin Franklin, the famous American statesman said that it was the first duty of the State to legislate for the protection of the lives and happiness of the people and not to preside over their destruction.
The State has no authority to declare that there are some lives not worthy of living and to give permission for them to be killed. The State also has no authority to empower doctors to assist in the suicide of their patients or to kill them with a lethal injection.
The World Medical Association which represents the medical associations in 110 nations representing more than ten million physicians recently reaffirmed its respect for human life and its total unremitting opposition to doctors assisting in the suicide of their patients or killing them with a lethal injection.
Adopted by the 70th WMA General Assembly, Tbilisi, Georgia, October 2019
1. The WMA reiterates its strong commitment to the principles of medical ethics and that utmost respect has to be maintained for human life. Therefore, the WMA is firmly opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
2. For the purpose of this declaration, euthanasia is defined as a physician deliberately administering a lethal substance or carrying out an intervention to cause the death of a patient with decision-making capacity at the patient’s own voluntary request. Physician-assisted suicide refers to cases in which, at the voluntary request of a patient with decision-making capacity, a physician deliberately enables a patient to end his or her own life by prescribing or providing medical substances with the intent to bring about death.
3. No physician should be forced to participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide, nor should any physician be obliged to make referral decisions to this end.
Professor Theo Boer, a Dutch ethicist previously a supporter of euthanasia who served on one of the five regional review boards tasked with overseeing euthanasia in Holland, recently came to New Zealand to warn us against making the same mistake as Holland. He gave three main reasons for opposing euthanasia:-
The suicide contagion effect
Advocates of assisted suicide claimed that legalising it would reduce the number of suicides. This has not happened and since 2008 there has been a 15% increase in assisted suicide and euthanasia. Professor Boer states many patients see assisted suicide as the only way to have a “dignified” death.
The expanding of euthanasia laws
The EOLCB is restrictive, however it is widely expected that the bill if passed, will quickly expand. In Holland and Belgium it has expanded to include people with disabilities, mental illness or people who believe that their life is complete. In Belgium it is now legal to kill children. The right to die will eventually become a duty to die, as it is cheaper to kill than to provide care.
Doctors required to kill patients
The passage of the EOLCB will destroy the trust that the community has in the medical profession. Would we ever trust our doctor if we knew that killing us was a treatment option? Would we be prepared to enter a hospital if we were uncertain whether we were going to receive care or to be killed? This bill violates the conscience of doctors who do not wish to be involved in killing their patients. It will drive many good doctors out of the profession. I believe that ultimately it will be a requirement for entry to Medical School that applicants are prepared to assist in the suicide of their patients or administer to them a lethal injection.
Patients in a terminal condition are entitled to a dignified death, with compassion and quality palliative care. We can celebrate that we have world class palliative care in New Zealand. Right to Life requests that you support increased government funding for palliative care to ensure that all New Zealanders have access to quality care in their time of need.
Right to Life also requests that you support the government’s suicide prevention strategy. It is a tragedy that 685 New Zealanders committed suicide last year. We have the highest youth suicide rate in the OECD. The passage of the EOLCB will give a message to our community, including teenagers, that Parliament supports your right to end your life with the result that our suicide rate will increase.
In conclusion, please protect our community by voting against the EOLCB at its third reading. Please do not delegate your responsibility to legislate by asking us to be implicit in the murder of our fellow citizens. A referendum cannot legitimise the murder of the vulnerable.
In nobly voting to defeat this obnoxious bill you will merit the blessing of our Creator and the profound gratitude of your community and future generations yet to be born.