Euthanasia debate likely to be even more fraught than gay marriage

By June 29, 2015 Recent News

Stuff 28 June 2015
If voluntary euthanasia advocates were hoping for a sympathetic ear in Parliament, the first step – news the health select committee would conduct an inquiry – may have given cause for concern.
“I unambiguously oppose euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in this country,” Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor, chairman of the health committee, said in Parliament on May 28.
“There is no such thing as a right to die. There is a right to life.”
O’Connor’s comments were made before he discovered that he would chair the inquiry into euthanasia, which he announced this week. But the timing was hardly an accident.
At the moment he spoke, campaigner Lecretia Seales lay just a week away from death, which came the same day a High Court ruled she did not have the “right to die” she was fighting for.
Nevertheless, the comments raised little attention, beyond being branded as arrogance by Labour MPs in the House at the time.
This should serve as a warning for those advocating for this particular social change. Being fervently opposed to euthanasia carries nothing like the social stigma of opposition to, for example, gay marriage.