Monthly Archives

November 2016

AMA rejects assisted suicide

By | Recent News

The Australian 24 November 2016
Family First Comment: “The Australian Medical ¬Association will today unveil a policy rejecting euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide, but which acknowledges for the first time that right-to-die laws are ¬“ultimately a matter for society and government”. The position statement, previewed exclusively by The Australian, spells out how doctors can ethically give drugs and treatment to dying patients that hasten death, provided the intent is to ¬relieve suffering.”
Exactly the way it currently is, and should remain.
The Australian Medical ­Association will today unveil a policy rejecting euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide, but which acknowledges for the first time that right-to-die laws are ­“ultimately a matter for society and government”.
The position statement, previewed exclusively by The Australian, spells out how doctors can ethically give drugs and treatment to dying patients that hasten death, provided the intent is to ­relieve suffering.
The AMA spent a year revising its stance on euthanasia after the hot-button issue was revived by an ultimately unsuccessful cross-party bid in South Australia to push right-to-die legislation through the state parliament and ongoing moves to frame such a law in Victoria with the backing of senior ministers in Daniel ­Andrews’ Labor government.
The AMA review was underpinned by a survey of 30,000 doctors. About 4000 responses came in, AMA president Michael Gannon said yesterday.
Views split narrowly in favour of retaining the AMA’s existing policy that doctors should not take any action primarily ­intended to cause the death of a patient. Doctors could, however, “relieve symptoms which may have a ­secondary consequence of hastening death”, the new position statement says.
Dr Gannon said 30 per cent of the responding doctors favoured a change in AMA policy to endorse or to shift to a neutral position on euthanasia, while 15 per cent were undecided.
The relatively close margin of about 55-45 per cent for and against or undecided on the existing policy underlines that doctors are as divided as the public.
The position statement says: “The AMA recognises there are divergent views within the medical profession and broader community in relation to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.”
Crucially, an even clearer ­majority of AMA members said if voluntary euthanasia were made legal at the state and territory level, doctors should be involved in helping terminally ill people die rather than dig in on principle and boycott the process.
Reflecting this, the AMA has altered its position to say: “If governments decide that laws should be changed to allow for the practice of euthanasia and/or physician-assisted suicide, the medical profession must be involved in the development of relevant legislation, regulations and guidelines.”
This would protect doctors who acted within the law, as well as ­patients at risk of coercion and “undue influence”, or those who might ask to die for fear of being a burden to family and carers.
“The fact that a majority of doctors don’t support a change in our statement or the law did not surprise me,” Dr Gannon told The Australian.
READ MORE: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/most-doctors-would-help-terminally-ill-die-ama/news-story/82a3d43d1c8742230a406e8ebe0cedb9

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Louisa Wall tables bill on euthanasia that isn't a bill

By | Recent News

Labour MP Louisa Wall tables euthanasia Bill
NewsTalk ZB 18 November 2016
Family First Comment: Louisa Wall tables a flawed bill that isn’t being submitted as a bill.
Go figure. #grandstanding
(By the way, it has the same fundamental flaws as all the others.)
In an unexpected move, Labour MP Louisa Wall has tabled a draft Bill on Euthanasia, with a Parliamentary committee currently investigating the issue.
Ms Wall, with the support of law Professor Mark Henaghan, has undertaken the move at Parliament today.
Her Bill applies to terminally ill people only and would require all euthanasia applications to be handled by an ethics committee.
“You will have to front the ethic’s committee, [which] provides an opportunity for the ethic’s committee itself to determine whether somebody is going informed consent, and then it will be through that process that conditions are determined.”
But she’s making it clear she has no intention of putting it up as a Member’s Bill, rather she’s letting it sit with the Euthanasia Inquiry.
“My caucus colleges knew that I’d make a submission, knew that as part of my submission I said I would be tabling a Bill. We’ve done this in good will because we believe that this does provide a really clear mechanism for us to be able to assist people who want the authority to die.”
READ MORE: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/politics/labour-mp-louisa-wall-tables-euthanasia-bill/

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

DISTURBING: Colorado voters approve assisted suicide

By | Recent News

LifeSiteNews 8 November 2016
Family First Comment: “People have been inundated with the message that this is about freedom, that this is about my autonomy, that there will be safeguards in place, when the fact is when you look at the reality, none of that is true.”
Colorado voted to legalize physician-assisted suicide tonight by an expected margin of around 65 percent to 33 percent.
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the London, Ontario-based Euthanasia Prevention Coalition says the result is distressing but not surprising.
“People have been inundated with the message that this is about freedom, that this is about my autonomy, that there will be safeguards in place, when the fact is when you look at the reality, none of that is true.”
Proposition 106 creates the “Colorado End of Life Options Act” allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients age 18 and over who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have been assessed to have six or fewer months to live.
The law requires two doctors to agree that the patient is in the final stages of a terminal illness. Patients will not be asked to undergo a mental health examination.
“The language is very weak,” noted Schadenberg. “If you have a medical condition you don’t have to speak to a specialist, you don’t have to, in any way, receive an opportunity to get the information that might change your mind on it.”
READ MORE: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/colorado-assisted-suicide-vote

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

NZ won't introduce euthanasia Bill, says John Key

By | Recent News

NewsHub 8 November 2016
Family First Comment: It will be difficult for Seymour to push his assisted suicide obsession when he’s voted out at the next election 🙂

No amount of public support for euthanasia will prompt the National Government to put forward legislation to allow medically assisted dying, Prime Minister John Key says.

But if a member’s Bill were to be drawn on the issue, it’s highly likely he and more than half the National caucus would support it, he says.

Parliament’s health select committee is currently hearing more than 1800 submissions to gauge public opinion on the issue.

“There’s such a wide range of views within both the Government and across Parliament that there’s no question that people want to potentially have a debate about that, there’s no question that the law might change over time – but ultimately you’re dealing with a really sensitive issue and I think the process is best handled through a member’s Bill,” Mr Key said on Tuesday.

National MPs would “definitely” be granted a conscience vote on the issue, he said.

Labour leader Andrew Little says he is not opposed to a Labour Government putting forward legislation, but it would not be a priority.

He would support a member’s Bill provided it offered the same safeguards as those put forward by former Labour MP Maryan Street in her End of Life Choices Bill, but has not asked his caucus their views on the topic because it’s a conscience issue.

ACT leader David Seymour, who has a private member’s Bill to legalise euthanasia in the ballot, said Mr Little needed to make it clear now if he’d put forward legislation in Government, or if a member’s Bill would be the only way forward.

He said it was a good sign that Mr Key supported medically assisted dying and that research into the views of other MPs indicated his bill would have a “pretty decent majority in the House”.

“[Mr Key] knows that two thirds to three quarters of New Zealand are in favour of a law change,” Mr Seymour said.

“What frustrates me is around a quarter to a half of my parliamentary colleagues haven’t figured that out, and I just wish they’d go back and talk to their electorates and start voting in line with the people they represent,” he said.
http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/nz-wont-introduce-euthanasia-bill-says-john-key-2016110815

facebook_icon

Ken Orr: Euthanasia an attack on the dignity of the human being

By | Recent News

Stuff co.nz 8 November 2016
Family First Comment: “Good medical care aims to eliminate the pain, not kill the patient.”
Well said.
Philip Nitschke is the founder and director of Exit International; its objective is to teach vulnerable people about suicide.
His presence in New Zealand should be seen as a threat to our most vulnerable members, the aged, the disabled and the seriously ill.
Euthanasia is about doctors killing their patients or assisting in their suicide, it is an attack on the dignity of the human person.
Every human being has intrinsic dignity and is endowed at conception with an inalienable right to life. Being inalienable, it may not be taken from us nor may we give it up.
Australian health authorities have recorded at least 51 Australians, 14 of whom were in their 20s and 30s, who have killed themselves with the lethal drug Nembutal.
In 2014 the Medical Board of Australia suspended Nitschke, stating that he presented “a serious risk to public health and safety”. He was reinstated in 2015 following an appeal to the courts. In 2016 he destroyed his licence to practise, refusing to comply with the new demands of the Medical Council.
Nitschke promotes a culture of death and seeks to have our laws changed to allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide.
The Crimes Act prohibits aiding or assisting in suicide, it also prohibits homicide. These laws are there for the protection of the most vulnerable members of our community, we change these laws at our peril.
Nitschke, who now resides in Holland, holds up Holland as an example to be emulated. Holland has, within15 years of introducing euthanasia legislation, expanded the killing to now include the depressed, those with Alzheimers, children, and an estimated 650 babies each year.
The Dutch Government, made up of Greens, Labour and liberals, recently advised Parliament that the euthanasia law will be amended next year to allow the government to provide a lethal pill to the elderly who believe that they are “done with life”, but not suffering from a serious or terminal medical condition.This proposal has the support of 60 per cent of the community.
How many years will it take for this right of the elderly to kill themselves to become a duty?
We should learn from Oregon, where 60 per cent of those who seek doctor-assisted suicide also believe that they are a burden on family and society. It is cheaper to kill the patient than to care.
Good medical care aims to eliminate the pain, not kill the patient.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/euthanasia-debate/86177417/ken-orr-euthanasia-an-attack-on-the-dignity-of-the-human-being

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Family First: Suicide crisis could worsen

By | Recent News

NewsHub 2 November 2016
Allowing assisted dying will create a contagion effect that will only make New Zealand’s suicide crisis worse, Family First’s national director Bob McCroskie believes.

Mr McCroskie has hit out at media reports making “heroes” of terminally ill people advocating for the right to die saying it will be a trigger for vulnerable people, and says reporting guidelines are important.

“It is demoralising to know that these guidelines were widely ignored in reporting of recent incidences of assisted suicide with the subject’s decision to end his or her life frequently presented as inspiring and even heroic,” he told parliament’s health committee on Wednesday.

Coverage of Lecretia Seales’ High Court bid for the right to die also impacted the number of people considering euthanasia, he said.

“It cannot be ruled out that there is risk related to the increased publicity given to the idea of euthanasia and assisted suicide and in addition those in palliative care report that during the Seales High Court case in 2015 there was a discernible increase in the number of patients and families expressing a desire to access assisted suicide euthanasia,” he said.

Instead Mr McCroskie wants to see coverage focus on people with suicide ideations who did not end their lives but find the strength to overcome adversity.

The health committee is hearing 1800 submissions in an investigation into public attitudes towards assisted dying, following a petition by former Labour MP Maryan Street.
http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/family-first-suicide-crisis-could-worsen-2016110218

Today in Parliament for 2 November 2016
Radio NZ 2 November 2016
Family First director Bob McCoskrie makes submission to Health Committee’s inquiry into public attitudes towards euthanasia.
LISTEN NOW: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/inparliament/audio/201822255/today-in-parliament-for-2-november-2016
twitter follow us

Funding shortfall for NZ's elder abuse sector putting people at risk

By | Recent News

Stuff co.nz 6 November 2016
Family First Comment: “This meant some people are being left in potentially abusive and unsafe environments, she said.”
Imagine how much worse it would get if we had assisted suicide laws….
A serious shortfall in funding to address elder abuse in New Zealand needs to be fixed immediately, says the boss of Age Concern.
Stephanie Clare, Age Concern chief executive, said services across the country are either under funded or non-existent, which is putting older people at risk.
“There are large areas of New Zealand where people do not have access to an elder abuse prevention service,” she said.
This meant some people are being left in potentially abusive and unsafe environments, she said.
Clare’s call comes in the wake of a horrific case of elder neglect, which resulted in a Taranaki couple being jailed for two years and nine months when they were sentenced last month.
Terrence and Erica Heppell pleaded guilty to the ill-treatment of their mother who was found by ambulance staff lying in her own waste, with several untreated sores on her body and a dislocated shoulder. She was also extremely unkempt, with dirty skin, nails and clothing.
Authorities were only alerted to the woman’s plight after the Heppells finally called for help, thinking she was on the brink of death.
Minister for Senior Citizens Maggie Barry said the Government contracted 27 services around New Zealand to provide specialist elder abuse and neglect services, to the tune of about $1.9 million a year.
Barry said the services dealt with about 2000 cases of elder abuse each year.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/86146116/Funding-shortfall-for-NZs-elder-abuse-sector-putting-people-at-risk?cid=app-iPhone

facebook_icon

Euthanasia a 'dangerous' topic to be discussing, Family First tells MPs

By | Recent News

Stuff co.nz 2 November 2016
Suicide is an “objectionable and dangerous idea”, says Family First; one that Parliament’s Health Select Committee should not be entertaining.
Spokesman Bob McCoskrie was speaking to MPs leading a parliamentary inquiry into euthanasia, which has garnered a record 21,000 public submissions.
The committee was working through those submissions – 1800 of which requested to be heard in person.
But during his own, McCoskrie questioned the impacts of holding such an inquiry on New Zealand’s “stubbornly high” rates of suicide.
Refusing to use the term euthanasia – used to refer to death usually in circumstances of terminal illness or insufferable and incurable pain – McCoskrie drew no separation between euthanasia and suicide due to mental illness.
He cited the case of a Wellington woman who ended her life with nembutal, after receiving information on how to import the Class C drug.
It was revealed last week, that the controversial police investigation into a euthanasia group followed the death of Annemarie Treadwell – a Wellington woman who supported Maryan Street’s petition in support of assisted dying.
It was Street’s petition, following the death of right-to-die campaigner Lecretia Seales, that prompted the parliamentary inquiry.
Treadwell died on June 6 in Wellington, aged 77.
In her own submission to the parliamentary inquiry earlier in the year, she said she had suffered chronic pain due to arthritis for more than 30 years, she lived with depression and was having short-term memory problems.
McCoskrie said she was an example of how wider discussion on euthanasia could prompt a “contagion”.
“She was a life member of Exit and was suffering from depression, but was physically fit and not suffering a terminal illness,” he said.
Just over a fortnight ago, Chief Coroner Deborah Marshall released New Zealand’s yearly suicide statistics, which saw an overall increase in cases of suicide – record 564 people in the year to July 30.
“We’re having more discussion here, which is a good thing. But Judge Marshall said we needed more discussion about suicide prevention.
“In complete contrast, this inquiry was initiated and has been driven by a desire to promote assisted suicide.
“You don’t discourage suicide, by assisting suicide,” McCoskrie said.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/85996011/euthanasia-a-dangerous-topic-to-be-discussing-family-first-tells-mps

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Talk of euthanasia encouraging suicides, conservative lobby group says

By | Recent News

NZ Herald 2 November 2016
Family First Comment: McCoskrie said any discussion of suicide should focus on prevention. “In complete contrast, this inquiry is initiated and is driven by a desire to promote assisted suicide. You don’t discourage suicide by assisting suicide.”
A conservative lobby group’s claim that Parliament could be encouraging suicides just by discussing euthanasia is flawed, an MP says.
Bob McCoskrie, the national director for Family First, said today that suicides and attempted suicides appeared to peak every time Parliament debated a law change around assisted dying.
He acknowledged there was no scientific basis for his theory and that other factors could have contributed to the rise in suicides in 1995, 2003 and 2012, when Parliament considered bills or proposed bills on euthanasia.
“But it cannot ruled out that there is risk related to the increased publicity given to the idea of euthanasia and assisted suicide.”
McCoskrie made the comments to a select committee which is investigating public attitudes to voluntary euthanasia and deciding whether it should be legalised in New Zealand.
McCoskrie said any discussion of suicide should focus on prevention.
“In complete contrast, this inquiry is initiated and is driven by a desire to promote assisted suicide. You don’t discourage suicide by assisting suicide.”
READ MORE: http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz-government/news/article.cfm?c_id=144&objectid=11740668&ref=rss
twitter follow us

MPs Told “You Don’t Discourage Suicide by Assisting Suicide”

By | Media Releases

Media Release 2 Nov 2016
Family First New Zealand – one of the lead family organisations against assisted suicide and euthanasia – has presented their oral submission today to the Select Committee conducting the Investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand as a result of Maryan Street’s petition.

In their oral submission, National Director Bob McCoskrie has warned MPs that the Inquiry presents a serious risk to public health and safety because there is a ‘social contagion’ aspect to suicide – assisted or non-assisted – and that we need more discussion about suicide prevention.

“You don’t discourage suicide by assisting suicide,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Suicide is already a public health crisis.”

KEY POINTS
This Inquiry presents a serious risk to public health and safety
• You don’t discourage suicide by assisting suicide
• Suicide is already a public health crisis
• There is a ‘social contagion’ aspect to suicide – assisted or non-assisted
• We need more discussion about suicide
prevention
• The discussion needs to move on to focus on what New Zealanders really need and want: a focus on providing the very best palliative care and support for vulnerable people
 

“Just a fortnight ago, Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall referred to NZ’s unacceptable and stubbornly high suicide rate and said that there needs to be more discussion, but discussion about suicide prevention. In complete contrast, this inquiry was initiated and is being driven by those who desire to promote assisted suicide.”

Family First is also warning that guidelines around the media reporting of suicides are being widely ignored in the reporting of recent instances of assisted suicide, with the subject’s decision to end his or her life frequently presented in the media as inspiring and even heroic, and the means of committing suicide being clearly spelt out.

“Promotion of assisted suicide is a message that will be heard not just by those with a terminal illness but also by anyone tempted to think he or she can no longer cope with their suffering – whatever the nature of that suffering. This is the real risk to young and to vulnerable people and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide.”

Family First also says that a close examination of the suicide and attempted suicide rates during the years that previous bills promoting assisted suicide have been introduced and debated shows that for each occasion, there is a slight ‘peak’, going against the overall trend, and that it cannot be ruled out that the risk is directly related to the increased publicity given to the idea of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“This discussion needs to move on to focus on what New Zealanders really need and want – a focus on providing the very best palliative care and support for vulnerable people, whether they are at the end of their life, or momentarily wishing they were at the end of their life.”
ENDS
READ Oral Submission
READ Written Submission
READ ”Protect” – A snapshot of the full issue