Monthly Archives

August 2014

Dr David Richmond – Euthanasia – Forum on the Family 2014

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Dr David Richmond speaks at Family First NZ’s Forum on the Family 2014 on the topic “Euthanasia – We can live without it”
David Richmond MD is a retired professor of Geriatric Medicine, a physician specialising in the care of the elderly and with an interest in palliative care in medicine, and founder and chairman of the HOPE Foundation for Research on Ageing.

National offers hospice boost

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Stuff co.nz 13 August 2014
National has pledged an extra $20 million a year in funding for hospices if re-elected in September.
National’s health spokesman, the retiring Health Minister Tony Ryall, said the funding would allow hospices to provide more palliative care.
Ryall said last year more than 15,000 people received care and support from the country’s 29 hospices while their palliative carers made over 145,000 visits to people in their homes.
Demand on hospice services would increase with an ageing population and this needed to be catered for.
“Hospices make a huge difference to people’s lives by ensuring terminally ill people are as free from pain and suffering as possible,” Ryall said.
“They also provide care and support for families and friends.”
Of the new funding, $13m would go towards helping the country’s hospices care for terminally ill people in their homes while $7m would fund 60 new palliative care nurses and educators.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/10379443/National-offers-hospice-boost

False Steps in the Assisted Dying Debate

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Fulcrum 14 July 2014
As we approach the House of Lords’ debate on Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, it is clear that there is a concerted attempt to undermine the church’s traditional opposition to laws enabling the killing of the suffering and dying.  There have always been some Christians who have supported this, such as Hans Kung and Paul Badham and in recent times Canon Rosie Harper has been a prominent Anglican voice.  They have now been joined by two senior retired Archbishops, George Carey and Desmond Tutu.  What is astonishing, looking at their articles, is not only their lack of theological content but the number of serious flaws and confusions in their arguments.  The debate is clearly entering a new phase and it would be a shame if these misleading claims were perpetuated and so prevented a proper reasoned discussion.  What follows offers the briefest of sketches of some of the main false steps in recent Christian arguments.
First, letting go is not the same as assisted killing.  Archbishop Tutu makes great play of the fact that “What was done to Madiba (Nelson Mandela) was disgraceful” and George Carey claims that “sophisticated medical science also offers people the chance to be kept alive far beyond anything that would have been possible only a few years ago”.  These are valid arguments to consider the amount of intervention to prolong life.  They are not arguments for ending life.  Assisting people to approach death with dignity through the provision of appropriate medical care and support and the non-provision of useless or burdensome treatments must be distinguished as a separate category from assisting them to bring about their death, for example, by prescribing lethal drugs whose only purpose is to end their life.
Second, easing pain is not the same as assisted killing. George Carey notes that “church leaders already understand that the use of pain medication such as morphine may occasionally have the effect of hastening death” and then asks “Why not extend this understanding further, so that the dying have a choice over how and when they wish their lives to end?”.  Leaving aside the fact that properly administered pain medication is very unlikely to hasten death and the seemingly uncritical acceptance of unfettered individual autonomy, this simply ignores the important distinction between intended and unintended outcomes of our actions.  Pain relief intends to ease pain, lethal injections intend to kill and prescribing lethal drugs intends to enable killing.  To facilitate or enact the last two actions does not “extend the understanding” that allows the first.  It represents a totally different, perhaps consequentialist, ethic in which either the intention of the agent is irrelevant or the intention to kill or assist in self-killing is held, in this case, to be good.
http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/articles/false-steps-in-the-assisted-dying-debate/

Poll: Assisted suicide opposition grows as evidence revealed (UK)

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The Christian Institute 30 July 2014
Public opposition to assisted suicide grows dramatically when people are more informed of the arguments, a new poll has revealed.
Figures show that many of those who initially express support for assisted suicide switch to opposing it when presented with evidence from places where the practice has been legalised.
The ComRes poll found that 28 per cent of British adults who had supported the proposals switched to opposition when informed that vulnerable people may feel pressurised to end their life so as not to be a ‘burden’.
Informed
One in five changed their minds when informed that there had been a steady annual increase of assisted suicide cases in countries like Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland and also a widening of the net to include people with chronic but not terminal illnesses.
Overall opposition to assisted suicide rose from 12 per cent to 43 per cent as those surveyed considered increasing amounts of evidence about the nature of assisted suicide.
The poll was published by Christian charity CARE (Christian Action Research and Education).
http://www.christian.org.uk/news/poll-assisted-suicide-opposition-grows-as-evidence-revealed/