The following post is by Mike Sullivan at Saving Downs.
New Zealand Labour Party MP Maryan Street has a private members bill for euthanasia sitting in the ballot box in Parliament. If this bill is drawn and subsequently made law, it paves the way for the un-consented killing of people with Down syndrome in New Zealand. Such a situation is entirely unacceptable and will be opposed in the strongest terms.
If this concept sounds farfetched, just look at the draft bill.
Clause 6 of the bill outlines the provisions for medical assistance for dying (that’s euthanasia):
6. Option to receive medical assistance to end life
(1) A qualifying person may receive medical assistance to end his or her life if he or she—
(a) is mentally competent; and
(b) suffers from either of the following conditions:
(i) a terminal disease or other medical condition that is likely to end his or her life within 12 months:
(ii) an irreversible physical or mental medical condition that, in the person’s view, renders his or her life unbearable.
So, in terms of our community the area of concern relates to the wording in 6(1)(b)(ii) – “an irreversible physical or mental medical condition that, in the person’s view, renders his or her life unbearable.”
No problem there then? – We all know that Down syndrome is an irreversible physical or mental medical condition, but they have pretty good lives so they wouldn’t meet the threshold of having a “life unbearable”. And anyway, you might say, to qualify for medically assisted dying you have to be mentally competent, so there is no risk of abuse of those accidently consenting to euthanasia. But, as we will see, those decisions don’t necessarily lie with the person concerned.
Think this through very carefully.