The price of the euthanasia law is too high

By September 28, 2020 Recent News

Stuff 27 September 2020
Family First Comment: Well said, Maggie Barry
“As the Minister for Seniors for three years, I was horrified at the extent of the scourge of physical, psychological and financial elder abuse.”

OPINION: If people want different choices at the end of their lives, the End of Life Choice Act is not the law change to provide it.

The risks and lack of safeguards to protect the vulnerable is too high a price to pay.

Before New Zealand pushes the nuclear button to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide, we need to ensure that everyone who needs gold-standard palliative care can access it.

Tragically, too many people have suffered through inadequate pain relief and have experienced difficult deaths.

We need to do better.

Legally, right now, dying people and their families already have the choice to turn off life-support, to refuse any treatment, to have a ‘do not resuscitate’ order and to be given palliative pain medication, such as morphine, that may hasten death.

Under this legislation, if a patient asks a doctor about assisted dying, the GP is explicitly prohibited, at risk of prosecution, to offer counselling and treatments. They are required instead to advise the patient they are not obliged to talk to anyone in their family and to refer them to a list of 12 Doctors – appointed by the Ministry of Health – who are supporters of euthanasia, and ‘willing to act’.

The vast majority of medical practitioners who came before the select committee don’t want to be part of administering lethal drugs; they want to care for their patients, not kill them.
* Maggie Barry was deputy chair of the Justice Committee which considered the End of Life Choice bill in 2018

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