Legalising euthanasia and protecting the most vulnerable 'impossible'

By February 2, 2016 Recent News

Stuff 2 February 2016
When I picture the woman who will be most affected by legalising euthanasia I don’t see an attractive 30 or 40-something mother with an unusual form of cancer, even though they seem to be the ones who get all the media coverage.
I see a little 90-year-old woman who’s lost all her teeth and shuffles from the rest home dining room to her bedside with the help of a walking frame, then is helped into her bed by a nurse.
Her family don’t visit. She’s lonely. She doesn’t have much money left. She feels selfish that she’s keeping it to pay for her last few years. She feels like she’s a burden, both on her family and the tax payer.
She might not have much pain, but she thinks there’s no place left in this world left for her. She feels like no-one cares and no-one really should. She’s no-one, got nothing left to contribute.
Right now we care for her. We recognise her right to life. We – you and I – help to pay for her. I do so happily because she built this country. She is not a burden to me.
But then we make it ok for a doctor to help her die. Suicide is no longer a big deal requiring a lot of effort and force of will. It’s easy. She’ll stop being a burden, stop being a waste of space, using up money that might go to someone younger or more deserving. She feels that, she knows it. She even reads it in the newspaper from time to time.
There is a lot of talk of death with dignity. What about life with dignity?