Right to Life believes that New Zealanders have a right to be fully informed of the potentially disastrous effect on our appalling suicide rate if we vote yes at the referendum for the introduction of the End of Life Choice Act. It is imperative that the government urgently provide accurate information to the people of New Zealand on the detrimental effect that legalised assisted suicide will have on our appalling suicide rate, currently 685 for 2018/19.
The Minister of Health, the Hon Dr David Clark advised Right to Life in response to our Official Information Act request that, “I can confirm that the Ministry of Health does not have any evidence that the EOLCB will have, or will not have, a causal effect on New Zealand’s suicide rate.”
Right to Life wrote to the Minister of Health on 6 December requesting that the Minister give urgent consideration to directing the Ministry of Health to conduct research into the effect that the EOLCB would have on New Zealand’s appalling suicide rate. The Minister replied on 8 December stating, “thank you for your correspondence. Thank you for taking the time to write.” That was it.
This response contradicts the advice given to the Justice Select Committee considering the EOLCB, in a Departmental Report by the Ministry of Health and Justice. The advice was that, “There is no evidence that assisted dying impacts suicide rates.” This advice to the Select Committee and to Parliament who voted to pass this dangerous life-threatening bill was misleading.
The misleading claim was countered in a respected and comprehensive study conducted in 2015 by David Jones and David Paton of states in the United States that had legalised assisted suicide. Their study found that legalizing Physician assisted suicide [PAS] was associated with a significant increase in total suicides, (including PAS) and no reduction in rates of non -assisted suicide.
It is a serious crime to falsify a death certificate. Death certificates for assisted suicides and death by lethal injection are falsified to disguise the true cause of death. Assisted suicides would not be added to the suicide statistics. Why has government and Parliament colluded to cover up the killing of the vulnerable by allowing the falsifying of death certificates and refusing to acknowledge assisted suicide as suicide?
Right to Life has written to the Minister of Health requesting that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice be asked to undertake detailed research that investigates the possibility of a causal link between suicide rates and the practice of assisted dying. This should include an examination of the change in suicide rates in Belgium and The Netherlands in relation to the recent marked increase in the proportion of deaths from euthanasia in those countries. It should also include an examination of emerging trends in Canada and the Australian State of Victoria.
Right to Life