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December 2014

Labour Party drops euthanasia bill

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Euthanasia-Free NZ 15 December 2014
Euthanasia-Free NZ congratulates Labour leader Andrew Little and MP Iain Lees-Galloway for resisting sponsorship of the ex-Maryan Street voluntary euthanasia bill.
The End-of-Life Choice Bill proposes legal assisted suicide and euthanasia for anyone over 18 who has either a terminal condition which could end their life in 12 months, or an irreversible physical or mental medical condition that the person feels makes their life unbearable. It would effectively legalise euthanasia for anyone with a chronic physical or mental illness, disability, ageing-related condition or any condition for which a person refuses further treatment.
“Public support for voluntary euthanasia is overestimated and based on unscientific online polls that ask an uninformed public to respond to leading questions couched in euphemisms”, says Renée Joubert, executive officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.
“Hence, many people confuse “assisted dying” (a euphemism) with switching off life support, withdrawing or refusing treatment and ‘do-not-resuscitate’ orders. However, euthanasia actually involves a doctor administering lethal drugs by injection in a way similar to overseas executions.  Assisted suicide involves a person swallowing lethal drugs prescribed by their doctor.”
Many are ignorant of studies showing that up to 35% of doctor-assisted deaths involve complications such as uncontrolled vomiting, epileptic fits and delayed death. It is hardly ‘death with dignity”. Many don’t know that witnessing the assisted death of a loved one carries the same risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as Iraqi war veterans have.”
A common misconception is that euthanasia and assisted suicide are purely private matters.  That is not so.  Both require the involvement of another party to execute, hence are public matters. Legalising euthanasia means making it legal for one person to be involved in deliberately ending the life of another person.  Calling it “mercy killing” can hide a multitude of motives, including elder abuse.

Bill euthanised over little support in House

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Stuff 16 December 2014
Palmerston North’s MP says the “conservative” makeup of Parliament is one of the main reasons for dropping his pursuit of a bill seeking to legalise euthanasia.
Labour’s Iain Lees-Galloway has abandoned the Right to Life Choice Bill at the request of new Labour Party leader Andrew Little, based on its forecasted lack of support.
The private member’s bill would have given people the choice to end their lives or receive medical assistance to die in certain circumstances, like terminal illness.
Lees-Galloway said he had doubts such a bill would have had much cross-party support.
“After speaking with MPs around the House, I have come to the view that this Parliament is reasonably conservative and one that’s unlikely to pass socially progressive legislation under a conscience vote,” he said.

Labour MP drops euthanasia bill

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NZ Herald 15 December 2014
A bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little.
Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill before deciding whether to return it to the private members’ bill ballot.
But Mr Little confirmed yesterday that he had told Mr Lees-Galloway not to put it in the ballot because it was not an issue Labour should be focused on when it was rebuilding.
“It comes down to priorities at the moment,” Mr Little said. “We are very much focused on … jobs and economic security.
“There are more people affected by weak labour market regulation and weak economic strategy than they are about the right to make explicit choices about how they die.”
The bill would have allowed any adult suffering from a condition likely to cause their death within 12 months to request medical assistance to die.
Labour dumps right to die bill  
Stuff 15 December 2014 
Labour is dropping a bill that would allow voluntary euthanasia, to focus on one that will ban employers placing workers on “zero-hour” contracts.
The party’s labour spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway has jettisoned his End Of Life Choice bill, which he inherited from former MP Maryan Street.
Street withdrew her bill from the ballot in September last year, for fear it would become too controversial an issue ahead of this year’s election.
Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support to return it to the private members bill ballot, but dropped it at the request of leader Andrew Little.
It would have changed laws to give people a choice to end their lives or receive medical assistance to die under certain circumstances, such as terminal illness.

Assisted suicide 'a stepping stone'

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Stuff 1 December 2014
I know first-hand how painful it is to watch a loved one deteriorate and die.
However, I feel frustrated by the emphasis the current assisted suicide debate puts on the terminally ill.
Rhetoric about how the terminally ill need assisted dying is only a way to manipulate our emotions and soften up society for the real agenda: legal assisted suicide for everyone. The pro-euthanasia lobby wants suicide to be regarded as normal, acceptable and rational. Their only objection is that “suicide is violent” – not that it’s to be prevented and discouraged in principle. In fact, it should be facilitated for anyone who “wants to die”.
Recently euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke appealed his medical deregistration in response to his involvement in the suicide of a 45-year old depressed but healthy man. Nitschke’s lawyer said in his opening address, the case was about “the dangerous idea [of] whether a person who is contemplating rational suicide ought to be required by a medical doctor not to do so”.
He implied that if a person had a good reason to want to die, a doctor should not intervene.
Since suffering is subjective and universal, any suicidal person would have a rationale for wanting to die. Terminal illness is only one of many possibilities.