Media Release 13 October 2016
Family First NZ says that the Netherlands has confirmed just how slippery the slope is relating to so-called safeguards around assisted suicide. The Dutch government has just announced that it intends to draft a law that would legalise assisted suicide for people who feel they have “completed life”, but are not necessarily terminally ill.
“Countries which have legalised euthanasia speak about stringent conditions and strict safeguards, but the reality is quite different from the rhetoric. There is a slippery slope, and the Belgium and now the Dutch experience is perfect evidence of this. There are no effective safeguards. The descent down the slippery slope is inevitable,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The Netherlands are simply following the trend in Belgium. 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.”
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.
“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. 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’. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is unlikely to go back in again.” says Mr McCoskrie.
“As American lawyer and author Wesley J Smith says, once killing is seen as an appropriate answer in a few cases, the ground quickly gives way, and it becomes the answer in many cases.”
Family First is calling on ACT’s David Seymour to focus on providing a palliative care regime in New Zealand that is fully funded and world class and is a clear alternative to assisted suicide – and not to remove the protection for vulnerable people, including children.