Monthly Archives

March 2015

Dutch Euthanasia Proof of Recipe For Abuse

By | Media Releases

Media Release 3 March 2015
Family First NZ says that the NZ lecture tour by Dr Rob Jonquiere, a leader of the Dutch euthanasia movement, will ignore the mounting evidence from his own country that there’s no safe way to kill people and that assisted suicide will result in coercion and abuse, potentially resulting in a ‘duty to die’.  
“International evidence shows that deaths by assisted suicide and euthanasia have been increasing wherever the practices have been legalised, and that the door is opened to a world of abuse. There is a slippery slope, and the Belgium and Dutch experience has proven this,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.  
“The euthanasia lobby always claims that it’s about the issue of choice, but the international evidence and experience prove otherwise. Belgium has so-called ‘safeguards’ in their law, but a 2010 study found 32% of euthanasia cases were carried out without request or consent. A 2005 study of deaths by euthanasia in the Netherlands found that almost 500 people are killed annually without their consent, and at least 20% of all cases aren’t reported.”    
Professor Theo Boer was a member of the Dutch Regional Euthanasia Commission for nine years, during which he was involved in reviewing 4,000 cases. He admitted to being a strong supporter of euthanasia and argued that there was no slippery slope. However, by 2014 he had a complete change of mind, regretted that he had made a terrible mistake, and even warned the United Kingdom Medical Council against following the Dutch example.    
“A Belgium Senator admitted that during the debate on the passing of child euthanasia laws, euthanasia supporters talked about children with anorexia, mental illnesses, and children who were simply tired of life. Belgium is unable to control or prevent the abuse of the existing law. Now they have expanded it to impact children. A recent documentary in Belgium featured a doctor killing a healthy young woman who was struggling with mental illness.”  
“To legalise assisted suicide (euthanasia) 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. Two elderly Scottish cousins who relied on each other to get by took their lives together in a Swiss clinic in November last year because they feared being put in separate care homes. Patients will come to feel euthanasia would be ‘the right thing to do’, they have ‘had a good innings’, and they do not want to be a ‘burden’,” says Mr McCoskrie.  
“Euthanasia will also send a dangerous message to young people about suicide and the value of life.”  
The majority of the medical profession and national medical associations around the world have been resolutely against the introduction of voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.    
Family First is calling for a palliative care regime in New Zealand that is fully funded and world class – and not to remove the protection for vulnerable people including children.

'Right to die' architect sparks Tauranga debate

By | Recent News

NZ Herald 2 March 2015
Dr Rob Jonquiere, communications director of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, was invited by the Bay of Plenty Voluntary Euthanasia Society.
Ken Orr, spokesman for New Zealand Right to Life, said his group was lobbying vigorously to ensure voluntary euthanasia remained illegal.
Orr said Dr Jonquiere’s message: “Is a threat to the most vulnerable in our community; the disabled, the aged and the mentally ill. Once we have the right to die it’ll become a duty to die for the elderly in retirement homes, Alzheimer’s patients, people with dementia … If we allowed assisted suicide, you have a situation that becomes very dangerous because it’s much easier to kill a patient than to care for them.”
The New Zealand Medical Association opposes euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.
The NZMA website states, “Even if they were to become legal, or decriminalised, the NZMA would continue to regard them as unethical.”
Dr Jonquiere says Holland’s medical association supports voluntary euthanasia.
“They’ve [the medical association] been at the basis of the formulation of protocol.”
Waipuna Hospice medical director Dr Murray Hunt said: “I’ve struggled to see how the medical profession can attend that balancing act. This consultation, supporting the patient, for life, the next consultation, assisting that patient to die – I personally think that concept sits outside medicine.”

It’s the patient’s right to have freedom from pain to best of the health community’s ability to provide that.

Dr Murray Hunt

Dr Hunt says the region’s growing elderly population (the Bay of Plenty Times this week reported Tauranga’s retiree population will double within 30 years) and a 30 per cent lifetime chance of developing some form of dementia mean families and communities must continue discussing end-of-life care.
“In nine out of 10 patients, we have very good answers or approaches for pain control. There are patients with a broader context of pain – existential, psychosocial complexities. For them, it’s increasingly challenging to achieve pain control, but we’ll never stop trying. It’s the patient’s right to have freedom from pain to best of the health community’s ability to provide that.”
Waipuna Hospice chief executive Richard Thurlow said his organisation’s mission was neither to prolong nor shorten life.
Thurlow hoped more government funding would give patients in the Bay of Plenty greater access to hospice care.
“Every year, more patients are on the books. It’s sad, but it’s a sign the right people are getting to us. Dying unsupported in this day and age shouldn’t happen.”
Dr Jonquiere said medically assisted dying was not about termination of life.
“It’s about termination of suffering … one of the major tasks of doctors given by the Hippocratic oath.”
Quebec, last year, passed right-to-die legislation, making it the only Canadian province to allow the practice.
Five US states allow medically assisted deaths.