Narelle Henson: Complex matters of life and death

Stuff co.nz 15 September 2017
Family First Comment: “If our fight against suicide is to be effective we simply must be able to explain why some physical suffering justifies death while the mental torture that is severe depression, or bipolar, or schizophrenia, does not. Don’t all involve horrendous, prolonged mental or physical pain? Don’t all involve loss of dignity at certain points? Don’t all involve loss of quality of life? Don’t all involve a shortened life expectancy?
When compassion means allowing some to choose death to relieve suffering, how can it also mean convincing others to live through it?
If we cannot answer these questions, then surely, we have to face the fact that what we are fighting with one hand, we are feeding with the other.”

OPINION: One week out from a general election, our politicians just can’t seem to stay away from life and death issues.

Last week, it was abortion. This week, National MP Simon O’Connor got himself into hot water over the issue of euthanasia. He criticised the Labour leader for supporting both a zero suicide rate and euthanasia laws.

His boss, Bill English, texted him to tell him he was wrong to link the two, which makes you wonder whether English actually read the report on euthanasia that O’Connor, along with politicians of other stripes, produced recently.

On page 43 the report deals explicitly with the arguments differentiating suicide from euthanasia. The section points out that one of the world’s most important health organisations recognises that it is actually very difficult to do so.

“The World Health Organization acknowledges significant definitional difficulties in its most recent publication on the issue”, we read. “In its 2014 report, ‘Preventing Suicide: A global imperative’, it defines suicide as the act of deliberately killing oneself.”

That definition describes precisely what New Zealand euthanasia laws will aid people to do.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/96866345/narelle-henson-complex-matters-of-life-and-death

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