Side Two of the Euthanasia Debate

The Euthanasia debate is a complex one. I have gone through the various articles published about it last week and have organised them into two posts to present both sides of the argument. This post contains articles against Euthanasia.

Euthanasia bill would be ripe for exploitation by the selfish and the abusive, says QC

The State has an obligation to protect its citizens – that is part of the social contract we as individuals have with the State. Our laws are based on the idea that human life has a certain sanctity about it which needs protection. Even in our Bill of Rights Act, we have provisions that mean that life has to be protected. 

The End of Life Choice Bill is premised on the idea that there are some conditions or characteristics that exclude a person from the need to protect their life. If these are absent, the person’s life is protected in law.
If they are present, the person may gain assistance to end their life. By taking away the protection for each human life, the End of Life Choice Bill breaches the social contract.

[…] They may say it is justifiable for some people to make a self-destructive decision because life for them has become intolerable, but that is not really the issue. The issue is, how do you distinguish those cases from the ones that should not be treated in that way?
Modern societies are often judged by the way they treat their weakest and most vulnerable citizens. The End of Life Choice Bill inherently involves people who are in a state of weakness or vulnerability.
During my more than 40 years of experience as a barrister, I have seen the pressures and abuses that can come to bear upon people who are in a state of weakness or vulnerability. 

Sunday Star Times

1000 Kiwi doctors sign letter against euthanasia

One thousand doctors have signed a letter saying they “want no part in assisted suicide”.
They have urged politicians and policy-makers to let them focus on saving lives and care for the dying, rather than taking lives, which they deemed unethical – whether legal or not.

[…] “We believe that crossing the line to intentionally assist a person to die would fundamentally weaken the doctor-patient relationship which is based on trust and respect,” the letter reads.
“We are especially concerned with protecting vulnerable people who can feel they have become a burden to others, and we are committed to supporting those who find their own life situations a heavy burden.”
Finishing, they said: “Doctors are not necessary in the regulation or practice of assisted suicide. They are included only to provide a cloak of medical legitimacy.

[…] “Leave doctors to focus on saving lives and providing real care to the dying.”

A Newspaper

‘We need politicians to protect us’: Terminal patient slams euthanasia Bill

Vicki Walsh was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer almost eight years ago, and has defied her initial prognosis of 14 months to live.

Despite her diagnosis, she opposes the End of Life Choice Bill […] Walsh sent a plea to politicians to oppose the Bill.
We need them to protect us from this Bill because idealistically, it could look very appealing to some people. It’s about what it opens up.”
Walsh believes the End of Life Choice Bill could mean patients are pressured into ending their lives.

[…] “I think they could be coerced into using it by family pressure. We see that with the elderly now.”
She also says patients are often suffering worse from depression and loneliness than they are physically.
“I talk every week with people that are terminally ill…and the things that they say to me are, ‘I am lonely. I am scared. I don’t want to be a burden.'”
Walsh says there was a time during her treatment where she came close to ending her own life.
“And I [now] know that that would have been the absolute wrong thing to do, because I was actually suffering, I believe, from depression and exhaustion and the shock of finding out you’re dying.”