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October 2019

World Medical Association Reaffirms Opposition To Euthanasia And Physician-Assisted Suicide

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World Medical Association 26 October 2019
Family First Comment: ‘The WMA reiterates its strong commitment to the principles of medical ethics and that utmost respect has to be maintained for human life. Therefore, the WMA is firmly opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide… No physician should be forced to participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide, nor should any physician be obliged to make referral decisions to this end.’

The World Medical Association has reaffirmed its long-standing policy of opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

After an intensive process of consultation with physicians and non physicians around the world, the WMA at its annual Assembly in Tbilisi, Georgia, adopted a revised Declaration on Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide.

This states: ‘The WMA reiterates its strong commitment to the principles of medical ethics and that utmost respect has to be maintained for human life. Therefore, the WMA is firmly opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.’

It adds: ‘No physician should be forced to participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide, nor should any physician be obliged to make referral decisions to this end.’

The Declaration says: ‘Separately, the physician who respects the basic right of the patient to decline medical treatment does not act unethically in forgoing or withholding unwanted care, even if respecting such a wish results in the death of the patient.’

The revised Declaration defines euthanasia as ‘a physician deliberately administering a lethal substance or carrying out an intervention to cause the death of a patient with decision-making capacity at the patient’s own voluntary request.’

It says that physician-assisted suicide ‘refers to cases in which, at the voluntary request of a patient with decision-making capacity, a physician deliberately enables a patient to end his or her own life by prescribing or providing medical substances with the intent to bring about death.’

WMA Chair Dr. Frank Ulrich Montgomery said: ‘Having held consultative conferences involving every continent in the world, we believe that this revised wording is in accord with the views of most physicians worldwide.’
https://www.wma.net/news-post/world-medical-association-reaffirms-opposition-to-euthanasia-and-physician-assisted-suicide/
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Voters Will Reject Euthanasia When Proposed Law Understood

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Media Release 24 October 2019
Family First NZ says that the referendum on assisted suicide will be defeated by voters once they understand the law that may be passed by politicians next month, and the impacts it will have on both the vulnerable and society in general.

“It is one thing to say yes to a nice sounding phrase around having ‘choice’, but when voters examine the pitfalls and dangers of the bill that may be passed next month, they will quickly realise that assisted suicide is not a simple yes no answer,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The Select Committee were unable to agree that the bill be passed, and they warned that the bill is not workable in its present state. Many MPs who voted for the bill in the 1st Reading said that they would be waiting for the Committee to tell them how to make the bill better and safer before supporting it further. Virtually all of the SOPs designed to improve the bill have either been defeated or have not been allowed to be debated. The bill is still a mess.”

“Even if the bill was limited to just the terminally ill, some people will be euthanised on account of a disease they thought they had but did not. Prognosis is an uncertain procedure. Many people know or have heard of a person who, having been given a pessimistic prognosis, has lived for many years to tell the tale. There is also concrete evidence from those countries which have authorised euthanasia that the availability and application of euthanasia expands to situations never initially envisaged as indications for it.”

A poll in April showed that most Kiwis balk in their support of assisted dying when questioned about specific aspects of euthanasia.

The Care Alliance analysis of the almost-39,000 submissions found that 91.8% were opposed to the Bill, but most importantly, 93.5% of submissions received from doctors, nurses and other health care staff were opposed.

“The promotion of euthanasia places 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,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The details and understanding of an actual euthanasia law is the killer for support.”
ENDS

What Labour will worry about with a euthanasia referendum

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Stuff co.nz 21 October 2019|
Family First Comment: “Conservative lobby groups such as Family First already have plenty to do campaigning against abortion law reform and the cannabis referendum pinned to go with the 2020 election. Add in a referendum on euthanasia and there would be quite a cocktail of policies to campaign and fundraise with. 
The Government would be coming for your babies, your grandma, and to give your kids legal weed.” 
That’s a great slogan!! Thanks guys 👍😄

ANALYSIS: The prime minister has said several times that she doesn’t think there should be a referendum on euthanasia.

But she could well vote for one on Wednesday. Here’s why.

Jacinda Ardern has supported the End of Life Choice Bill every step of the way, and voted with bill sponsor David Seymour on all of his varied amendments thus far – all of which are aimed at getting it to pass.

Now, with the referendum vote looming – under which the law would be dependent on the public endorsing it – Ardern has left open the option of voting for a referendum which she has previously be wary of, if that’s what is needed for the bill to pass.

Ardern is of course only one vote of 120. Because euthanasia is a conscience matter for Labour and National, the leaders’ votes technically don’t count any more than the lowliest of backbenchers’.

But her vote will likely be influential on other MPs on the fence, which could be crucial. It’s much easier to make a hard decision when you know your leader has made the exact same call. Several other Labour MPs could go all the way from yes to no without much trouble.

Seymour desperately needs to pass the referendum amendment on Wednesday to pass the bill itself in a few weeks’ time. This is because of a deal he made with NZ First early in the process: if he got a referendum included, all nine NZ First MPs would stay onboard through all three readings.

If the referendum amendment fails, it’s not clear that every NZ First MP would vote against the bill (opinions clearly differ within the party), but most would.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/116752897/what-labour-will-worry-about-with-a-euthanasia-referendum?cid=app-iPhone

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Psychiatry professor criticises ‘discriminatory’ euthanasia

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NewsTalk ZB 17 October 2019
Family First Comment: So many great points made in this interview…. 
“The long and short of it is anywhere from 70 to 75 per cent of people who are actually killed, so called euthanised, in countries where it is legal are the elderly and  the poor.”  
“When we talk to the elderly and the poor about why they wish to be killed or euthanised, they say they have become a burden on their families and on society, so is it really a choice.”  
The research found that suicide rates have increased between five and 15-percent in countries where euthanasia is legal. 
#rejectassistedsuicide

A professor says that legalising euthanasia has been devastating on the elderly, poor and disabled.

Otago University doctors have reviewed the laws, practices and modifications in countries where it’s been introduced.

Old Age Psychiatry associate professor Yoram Barak says our public debate isn’t well informed.

He’s calling on psychiatrists to say ‘no’ to euthanasia.

“The long and short of it is anywhere from 70 to 75 per cent of people who are actually killed, so called euthanised, in countries where it is legal are the elderly and  the poor.”

Barak says the debate centres on choice, rights and dignity, but euthanasia becomes discriminatory.

He says ignoring history means we’d be killing people without options.

“When we talk to the elderly and the poor about why they wish to be killed or euthanised, they say they have become a burden on their families and on society, so it is really a choice.”

He says the Dutch government’s considering extending euthanasia to anyone over 70 years old who feel they’ve fulfilled their role in life.

The research found that suicide rates have increased between five and 15-percent in countries where euthanasia is legal.
READ MORE: https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/heather-du-plessis-allan-drive/audio/yoram-barak-psychiatry-professor-criticises-euthanasia-calls-it-discriminatory-and-contradictory/

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US study says assisted suicide laws rife with dangers to people with disabilities

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BioEdge 13 October 2019
Family First Comment: The National Council on Disability (NCD) has released a scathing analysis of the effect of assisted suicide laws in the United States on people with disabilities. It finds that safeguards are ineffective and that there is little oversight of abuses and mistakes…. The most prevalent reasons offered by someone requesting assisted suicide are directly related to unmet service and support needs. These should be dealt with through new laws and more funding, says NCD, not assisted suicide. “Assisted suicide laws are premised on the notion of additional choice for people at the end of their lives, however in practice, they often remove choices when the low-cost option is ending one’s life versus providing treatments to lengthen it or services and supports to improve it.” 

The National Council on Disability (NCD) has released a scathing analysis of the effect of assisted suicide laws in the United States on people with disabilities. It finds that safeguards are ineffective and that there is little oversight of abuses and mistakes.

In eight states and the District of Columbia it is legal for doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients diagnosed with terminal illness and with a prognosis of six months or less to live, if certain procedural steps are followed.

Pain relief is often described as the primary motivation for seeking assisted suicide. In its report, Assisted Suicide Laws and their Danger to People with DisabilitiesNCD responds that the most prevalent reasons offered by someone requesting assisted suicide are directly related to unmet service and support needs. These should be dealt with through new laws and more funding, says NCD, not assisted suicide.

“Assisted suicide laws are premised on the notion of additional choice for people at the end of their lives, however in practice, they often remove choices when the low-cost option is ending one’s life versus providing treatments to lengthen it or services and supports to improve it,” said NCD Chairman Neil Romano.

Closely examining the experience in Oregon, where the practice has been legal for 20 years, NCD found that the list of conditions eligible for assisted suicide has expanded considerably over time, including many disabilities that, when properly treated, do not result in death, including arthritis, diabetes, and kidney failure.

Assisted Suicide Laws and their Danger to People with Disabilities also notes suicide contagion in states where assisted suicide is legal; as well as a loosening of existing safeguards both in states with legalized assisted suicide and states considering bills to legalize.
READ MORE: https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/us-study-saysassisted-suicide-laws-rife-with-dangers-to-people-with-disabil/13245

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