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October 2013

Blind woman killed by lethal injection

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DailyMail 8 October 2013
Medics have killed a woman by lethal  injection because she could not cope with becoming blind.
In one of the first cases of euthanasia for a  disability, the 70-year-old was deemed by doctors to be ‘suffering  unbearably’.
They granted her wish to die after she had  previously tried to commit suicide several times.
But pro-life campaigners said the case showed  how euthanasia and assisted suicide for more trivial reasons can soon become the  ‘norm’ in countries where it is legal.
They insisted it was medical negligence for  the doctors in Holland to have gone along with the woman’s suicidal ideas and  said they should have found a way to manage her psychological  problems.
The unnamed woman had been born with poor  eyesight which had deteriorated into blindness as she entered old age.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2448611/Blind-Dutch-woman-euthanised-loss-sight.html

 

Assisted suicide opens door to abuse – report

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OneNews 24 October 2013
Deaths by assisted suicide have increased wherever the practices have been legalised, opening the door to abuse, a report claims.
The report has set off alarm bells for Bob McCoskrie from Family First who says it sends a dangerous message to young New Zealanders about suicide.
But MP Maryan Street, who has withdrawn her euthanasia bill until after next year’s election, says people need to have the choice as to when they end their lives and she says the report is misleading and statistically wrong.
The report by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada says legal euthanasia is never just for “exceptional” cases” and eligibility rules are highly subjective. It says laws legalising euthanasia/assisted suicide ignore the risks to those who are vulnerable and/or susceptible to coercion as long as they self-define their suffering as unbearable.
There are no second chances once euthanasia is perceived as the best treatment, the report concludes.
Mr McCoskrie told Breakfast this morning that to allow Maryan Street’s bill would “open up a Pandora’s Box for elder abuse”.
New Zealand should adopt the same precautionary approach to assisted suicide as it did to the death penalty which said one life lost is one too many, Mr McCoskrie said.
“Rather than increase killing, let’s increase palliative care and pain management and fund hospices the way they should be funded.”
Mr McCoskrie says Hospice New Zealand and the NZ Medical Association “don’t want a bar of this legislation” because they know the coercive power and abuse that could happen under it.
“We should be increasing care, not increasing killing.
“To legalise assisted suicide would place large numbers of vulnerable people at risk – in particular those who are depressed, elderly, sick, disabled, those experiencing chronic illness, limited access to good medical care, and those who feel themselves to be under emotional or financial pressure to request early death.”
The report says euthanasia deaths have increased 64% between 2005 and 2010 in the Netherlands, by 130% between 2009 and 2012 in Washington and have doubled in Oregon since 2005.
It says in the Netherlands, euthanasia began with terminally ill patients and expanded to those with mental illness but now babies with spina bifida or other illnesses are “killed with parental consent”. And it claims patients with Alzheimer’s disease, even though they can no longer choose to be killed, are being euthanised.
“The bill put forward by Labour MP Maryan Street would represent the most wide-ranging law of its kind in the world – and would be ripe for abuse,” Mr McCoskrie says.
Ms Street disputes the figures in the report but says undoubtedly there are people who would not have thought about using legalised euthanasia before because it was not a legal option for them.
She told Breakfast she has looked at legislation from all around the world and tried to find the best bits. She says the bill contains caveats and protection to prevent coercion.
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/assisted-suicide-opens-door-abuse-report-5658404

Jeanette Hall's Story

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I Asked To Die In Oregon . . . Twelve Years Later, I Am Happy to be Alive!
I live in Oregon where assisted suicide is legal. In 2000, I was diagnosed with cancer and told I had six months to a year to live. I knew that our law had passed. Indeed, I had voted for it. But I didn’t know exactly how to go about doing it. I asked my doctor, but he didn’t really answer me.
On my third visit, he asked me how my son [who was attending the police academy and my doctor knew I couldn’t see him] would feel if I went forward with my plan. I didn’t know what to say. I agreed to be treated. I had both chemotherapy and radiation.
I am so happy to be alive. It is now 12 years later. If my doctor had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead. I thank him and all my doctors for helping me choose “life with dignity.” Assisted suicide should not be legal. Don’t make Oregon’s mistake.”
Jeanette Hall lives in King City, Oregon, and has shared her story across the country with the hope that legislation like Vermont Senate Bill S.77 will be rejected, and other lives will be saved. http://www.vaeh.org/resources/JeanetteHall.htm

Euthanasia: Removing the sanctity of life

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Stuff co.nz 22 October 2013
As our constitution stands, it is illegal to take a life. Those who murder are punished.
This is designed for the protection of all members of society.
We are disgusted when we read of Nazi war criminals that murdered innocent people, and have never been brought to justice.
Even now such people are being prosecuted for their crimes, 70 years after the end of the war.
Taking a life is a very serious thing to do, and it crosses all the lines of humanity and Christian faith.
I believe life is not ours to take in any circumstance. We cannot give life to anything, and it is not incumbent on us to take anyone else’s life away.
Our society honours people who save others, especially at the risk of their own life.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/assignments/your-stance-on-euthanasia/9308576/Euthanasia-Removing-the-sanctity-of-life

Editorial Euthanasia: A case of ‘selective listening’?

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Nathaniel Ctre October 2013
Maryan Street, author of a bill which seeks to legalise euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in New Zealand, has repeatedly made the point that “the social conversation has moved” since 2003 when the last Bill was put forward. I agree with her.
But, whereas Street means to infer (without real evidence) that there has been a shift in opinion towards favouring change, I mean something quite different. I mean that in the last 10 years the social context has changed and is now characterised by a range of different concerns. These concerns, articulated in various social conversations, lead me to a very different conclusion about the desirability of euthanasia.
Firstly, there has arisen a new conversation about the dangers of growing old in New Zealand. Elder abuse is now a significant issue confirmed, sadly, by recent reports of family members in Christchurch standing over elderly relatives and intimidating them to hand over earthquake compensation pay-outs. The reported case of the woman who died a horrific death from scabies, allegedly attributed to carer neglect, is yet another example. Age Concern (NZ) notes that 1 in 40 of all elderly people experience some form of abuse or neglect, equivalent to two people being abused every hour of the day. Given that the reported cases represent approximately 16% of the total abuse cases, that would amount to a total of 6,250 cases per year or 17 per day. Shamefully, 80% of abuse is committed by family members even when that person is in residential care.
Then there is the conversation that has followed from the reporting of the (Auckland) results of the New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Over half of those questioned were lonely and nine per cent described themselves as “severely” or “very severely” lonely. Depression is also a significant factor for more than 20%, and 40% report experiencing everyday discrimination, mostly because of age. The study further notes that elderly people are facing a future of less housing and income security. These figures are of huge concern when considering research which shows that persistent requests for euthanasia or assisted-suicide are related to loss of control, social isolation or being a burden rather than a desire to avoid a painful death.
http://nathaniel.org.nz/16-bioethical-issues/bioethics-at-the-end-of-life/290-editorial-euthanasia-a-case-of-selective-listening

Age groups want watchdog on abuse

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NZ Herald 21 October 2013
The Government has been urged to create a new aged care watchdog with legal power to tackle the rising incidence of financial abuse of vulnerable elderly people.
Grey Power and the Aged Care Association are worried by the increasing number of elderly people being ripped off.
The abuse is mainly by adult sons and daughters with authority to manage an aged parent’s affairs under the legal tool called an “enduring power of attorney”.
The two groups want the Government to establish an aged care commissioner, akin to the Health and Disability Commissioner, with legal powers to investigate complaints of abuse and to ask the Family Court to review how a person has managed an enduring power of attorney.
Age Concern’s statistics, which are thought to capture only a fraction of the problem, show the annual number of confirmed cases handled by its elder abuse and neglect prevention services increased from 515 in 2006/7, to 583 in 2010/11.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11143307

Say no to euthanasia

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Stuff.co.nz 21 October 2013
Legalising euthanasia may benefit a few but it will harm thousands more.
Why legislate for suicide when suicide is an increasing problem across the board in New Zealand?
Legalising euthanasia will make people afraid of visiting their doctor when they know that at the back of the doctor’s mind they may be considering advising euthanasia as a solution. A doctor’s job is to heal not to kill. To alleviate pain, not to end a life.
Legalising euthanasia for those who are terminally ill cannot but lead to creeping acceptance of euthanasia as a solution for lesser illnesses.
Once we have made the decision to legalise state sanctioned killing (euthanasia) or assisted suicide (abetting the patient to kill themselves), we have crossed the moral divide and no further moral deliberation will be required to assent to extending to other classes of human beings other than the terminally ill.
After all, if euthanasia becomes a right, surely that right becomes a human right and no class of human beings can then be denied that right.
Legalising euthanasia sends the message to all persons that killing yourself is a way to solve your problems.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/assignments/your-stance-on-euthanasia/9300468/Say-no-to-euthanasia

Euthanasia: Dead can't lay complaints

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Stuff.co.nz 16 October 2013
Legalising euthanasia in New Zealand would be a terrible idea for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is impossible to ensure it is kept within the legal parameters.
Dead people can’t lay complaints.
We only have to look to the Netherlands and other European countries to see how awfully wrong things go when you open doors like this.
Progressive relaxation of the restrictions enables children as young as thirteen to choose death over a life they have barely begun (and thus haven’t yet seen the best of).
Many elderly people and those with disabilities are well known to choose to live with illnesses and curable ailments over a stay in hospital – out of fear that they will never come back out.
And this happens not out of misguided concern for their ‘wellbeing’ or quality of life, but often just to free up beds in the hospital.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/assignments/your-stance-on-euthanasia/9288942/Euthanasia-Dead-can-t-lay-complaints

Labour: Euthanasia bill will return

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NZ Herald 16 October 2013
Coroner calls for fresh debate, but MP says the issue risks becoming a political football in election year.
Voluntary euthanasia will be placed back on the political agenda “like a shot” after the next election, Labour MP Maryan Street says.
Parliament was urged by a coroner yesterday to reopen debate on the issue after the case of 85-year-old Edna Gluyas, who committed suicide in August 2011 after a long struggle with arthritis and back pain.
Ms Street removed her End of Life Choice Bill from the private member’s bill ballot this year out of concern a debate about euthanasia could come up in election year and become a political football. Labour was also concerned the bill could distract from its main policies and deter more conservative voters.
Asked whether she would revisit the issue after the general election, Ms Street said: “I’ll put it back in the ballot like a shot. That will be one of my first actions.”
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11140630