Opinion – Faith in Waipā – By Murray Smith – Senior Leader, Bridges Church.
The End of Life Choice Act 2019 will be enacted unless enough New Zealanders vote ‘No’ at the polling booths come October 17.
The wording ‘End of Life Choice’ ought to highlight how deliberate, subtle euphemism is being used to make it seem kinder, more plausible, caringly humane and nicer than it really is.
Euthanasia is not turning off life support. It is assisted suicide. It means receiving a deadly dose of drugs to knowingly and intentionally cause the death of a person who no longer wishes to live.
Put bluntly, ‘end of life choice’ exists already. Section 11 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 states. “everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment.” This can include “Do Not Resuscitate” orders. There is no legal or ethical requirement that a diseased or terminally ill person must be kept alive at all costs. The law draws a clear line between withdrawing medical support thereby allowing a patient to die of his or her own medical condition, versus intentionally bringing about the patient’s death.
This dangerous bill introduces the inevitability of abuses happening by way of terminally ill and those living with life-limiting illnesses becoming coerced or pressured into requesting euthanasia. Ulterior motivation by families eager to save themselves the burden of a drawn-out process, will undoubtedly precipitate termination of lives in advance of death coming naturally.
Renowned British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, ardent supporter of euthanasia, callously conceded, “Even if a few grannies get bullied into it, isn’t that the price worth paying for all the people who could die in dignity?”
Excuse me!? His assumption is that you can’t die with dignity unless you determine the precise moment your life ends. In my experience pastoring, I have frequently ‘journeyed’ with people, young and old through terminal illness. I have seen these people die with great dignity, surrounded by loving families whose pain in seeing their loved ones suffer was obvious – yet intervening to hasten death would never have seemed like the ‘more dignified’ or kinder option.
I have seen these dear people often receive wonderful help in palliative care situations once things became difficult towards the end. And yes, dying naturally, without death being recklessly precipitated can be dignified. In some cases I have seen patients confound both diagnosis and prognosis…meaning an ‘expert’ signing off on euthanising such a person would have robbed them of the joy of seeing weddings happen, grandchildren born and much more…
I attended a community debate with many MP’s representing both sides of the argument including the bill’s instigator David Seymour. It became disturbingly apparent so many things are wrong with this ill-conceived bill… doctors and medical people stated their unwillingness to be involved in euthanasia. “Please get someone else to do this business… not us”, was their heartfelt plea. Others pondered the stupidity of introducing laws to assist suicide in our nation while at the same time campaigning to reduce suicide rates.
MP’s proposed 114 amendments to this bill. What does that say!? Only three were approved, including the decision to allow this referendum.
The only thing needing euthanasia is this bill. Your “no” vote will see it happens.