Category

Media Releases

Nitschke Must Be Banned For Sake Of Suicide Prevention Message

By | Featured, Media Releases

Media Release 8 November 2018 
Family First NZ says that Philip Nitschke should not be allowed in the country and the police should be shutting down any meetings he is holding in New Zealand.

“At a time when we are desperate to do everything we can to lower our unacceptable and tragic rates of suicide, Nitschke is promoting a message that anybody has the right to take their own life,”says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“His message has left a trail of destruction, and is evidence of just how far some euthanasia advocates will take an assisted suicide law if it was ever introduced. Vulnerable people are being exploited by his agenda and the police need to protect New Zealanders from him. The suicide prevention messages will be completely undermined by his messaging.”

In 2014 Nitschke came under fire from two Australian suicide prevention organisations, Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute, after his involvement in the suicide of a physically healthy 45-year-old Australian man, Nigel Brayley. Complaints have also been made regarding the suicides of Erin Berg, a 39-year-old mother suffering from post-natal depression who died an agonizing death from euthanasia drugs; Lucas Taylor, a 26-year-old suffering from hidden depression; Gillian Clark, a 47-year-old who was undergoing medical tests; and Joe Waterman, a physically healthy 25-year-old, among others.

The 2015 Victorian state government inquiry into end-of-life choices found that young and physically healthy people were killing themselves using a drug recommended by euthanasia groups – the same drug being recommended in NZ. The majority of those suicides were young people who were physically healthy, but mentally ill.

The Medical Board of Australia imposed 25 strict conditions on Philip Nitschke, known as Doctor Death. The board believed he “presents a serious risk to public health and safety.”

“Nitschke defends the right of someone to take their own life, even when fit and healthy. New Zealanders reject this destructive message and the police should prevent this risk to vulnerable New Zealanders. In fact, he should not even be entering the country,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Nitschke’s promotion of suicide 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.”
ENDS

Enabling Suicide Should Always Be A Crime

By | Media Releases

Media Release 11 May 2018
Family First NZ is welcoming the decision in the Wellington High Court of the conviction and fining of Susan Austen who enabled a woman to commit suicide. Family First is now calling on the police to lay similar charges against Dr Philip Nitschke.

Family First is also calling on the Voluntary Euthanasia Society to return the donations of suicide victim Annemarie Treadwell. It is disturbing and ethically questionable that VES are profiting from aiding and abetting suicide and questions whether the case is more about coercion than compassion.

“The case shows that we should be very wary of groups and politicians calling for euthanasia laws. They propose a dangerous law, far wider than what they will publicly admit, based on the so-called right or choice of suicide to those who want it. The victim was a life-member of EXIT and was suffering from depression and arthritis but was physically fit and not suffering a terminal illness,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“It is disturbing that pro-euthanasia supporters are campaigning for importing a drug linked to assisting suicide.”

“It is completely right that our justice system should reject the promotion of suicide in New Zealand, but the police also need to turn their attention to the background operations of Philip Nitschke. Nitschke promotes suicide, has left a trail of destruction, and is evidence of just how far some euthanasia advocates will take an assisted suicide law if it was ever introduced.”

Last year, Nitschke was exposed for selling suicide kits disguised as equipment for home-brewing beer. No controls. Just a credit card required. Vulnerable people are being exploited by his agenda and the police need to protect NZ’ers from him and groups associated with him.

The Medical Board of Australia has imposed 25 strict conditions on Nitschke who they rightly believepresents a serious risk to public health and safety”.

In 2014 Nitschke came under fire from two Australian suicide prevention organisations, Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute, after his involvement in the suicide of a physically healthy 45-year-old Australian man, Nigel Brayley. Complaints have also been made regarding the suicides of Erin Berg, a 39-year-old mother suffering from post-natal depression who died an agonizing death from euthanasia drugs; Lucas Taylor, a 26-year-old suffering from hidden depression; Gillian Clark, a 47-year-old who was undergoing medical tests; and Joe Waterman, a physically healthy 25-year-old, among others.

The 2015 Victorian state government inquiry into end-of-life choices found that young and physically healthy people were killing themselves using a drug recommended by euthanasia groups – the same drug being recommended in NZ. The majority of those suicides were young people who were physically healthy, but mentally ill.
ENDS

Police Right To Investigate Promotion & Enabling of Suicide

By | Media, Media Releases

Media Release 15 March 2018
Family First NZ says police are absolutely correct to be investigating, shutting down and prosecuting the promotion of suicide in New Zealand, and especially the operations of Philip Nitschke.

“The intent of the police was correct when checking on supporters of Exit International. Nitschke promotes suicide, has left a trail of destruction, and is evidence of just how far some euthanasia advocates will take an assisted suicide law if it was ever introduced. Just last year, Nitschke was exposed for selling suicide kits disguised as equipment for home-brewing beer. No controls. Just a credit card required. Vulnerable people are being exploited by his agenda and the police need to protect NZ’ers from him and groups associated with him,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

The Medical Board of Australia has imposed 25 strict conditions on Nitschke who they rightly believepresents a serious risk to public health and safety”. In 2014 Nitschke came under fire from two Australian suicide prevention organisations, Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute, after his involvement in the suicide of a physically healthy 45-year-old Australian man, Nigel Brayley.

Complaints have also been made regarding the suicides of Erin Berg, a 39-year-old mother suffering from post-natal depression who died an agonizing death from euthanasia drugs; Lucas Taylor, a 26-year-old suffering from hidden depression; Gillian Clark, a 47-year-old who was undergoing medical tests; and Joe Waterman, a physically healthy 25-year-old, among others.
The 2015 Victorian state government inquiry into end-of-life choices found that young and physically healthy people were killing themselves using a drug recommended by euthanasia groups – the same drug being recommended in NZ. The majority of those suicides were young people who were physically healthy, but mentally ill.

A Wellington woman ended her life with Nembutal in 2008, after receiving advice on how to obtain it from Dr Nitschke. She was a life-member of EXIT and was suffering from depression but was physically fit and not suffering a terminal illness.

“Nitschke defends the right of someone to take their own life, even when fit and healthy. New Zealanders reject this destructive message and the police are right to be prosecuting and investigating groups in order to remove this risk to vulnerable NZ’ers,” says Mr McCoskrie.
ENDS

Submissions on Euthanasia Failing To Get Through

By | Media Releases

Media Release 11 February 2018
Family First Comment: Please contact us if you have been having issues trying to email your submission.
admin@familyfirst.org.nz

Family First NZ says that the email system of Parliament appears to be crashing under the weight of submissions being received on euthanasia – and is calling on the closing date to be delayed.

“We have been contacted by a number of submitters who report that their emailed submissions are not getting through and that they are receiving either an error message or are not receiving the automated reply that some submitters are getting. Our own testing of the email address would suggest that there are ongoing problems,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“This means that submitters on both sides of the issue cannot be certain that their submissions are being received and will make the deadline of 20 February.”

Family First is calling on Parliamentary Services to urgently fix the issue, for confirmations to be sent to all submitters, and is also asking for the closing date for submissions to be extended so that submitters can confirm that their submission has been received and accepted.

“It is no surprise that the Select Committee is being swamped with submissions on such a contentious issue – but it is vital that all submissions are received and are part of the full consideration of this bill.”
ENDS

Major Campaign Launched Against Euthanasia Bill

By | Media Releases

Media Release 13 December 2017
In response to ACT MP David Seymour’s euthanasia bill passing it’s 1st Reading tonight, Family First NZ is immediately launching a strong nationwide campaign to stop the flawed and dangerous bill.

Family First will be releasing a 16-page resource this week to help families and organisations flood the Select Committee with submissions opposing the law.

“Safe euthanasia is a myth. Euthanasia will remove the ‘choice’ of many vulnerable people, and fails the public safety test. Most disturbingly, 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, the disabled and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

The recent parliamentary inquiry sounded a clear warning that changing the law on assisted suicide could be seen as normalising suicide, and an overwhelming 80% of the 21,000+ submitters – in an extensive and lengthy inquiry – have rejected calls for euthanasia.

“Vulnerable New Zealanders will live without this Bill.”
www.rejectassistedsuicide.nz 
ENDS

Seymour Bill A ‘Political Stunt’ – Minister of Health

By | Media Releases

Media Release 12 December 2017
Family First NZ is welcoming media comments made by the new Minister of Health during the election campaign regarding David Seymour’s euthanasia bill, including the commitment that he will vote against it.

Labour MP Dr David Clark said he supported the health select committee investigation into euthanasia which received over 21,000 submission of which 80% were opposed to euthanasia.

Dr Clark said it had been a productive process involving a large part of the community in a “mature discussion”, and that Seymour’s bill “is a political stunt that will give profile to David Seymour.”

“Dr Clark is completely correct. The government report released in August revealed a massive level of opposition to euthanasia, and explains why a select committee comprising both proponents and opponents of assisted suicide could not endorse any change to the law. They understand that 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, the disabled and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
ENDS

Inquiry Already Confirms We Can Live Without Euthanasia

By | Media Releases

Media Release 12 December 2017
Family First NZ is calling on politicians to reject ACT MP David Seymour’s private members bill to legalise euthanasia. The recent parliamentary inquiry sounded a clear warning that changing the law on assisted suicide could be seen as normalising suicide, and an overwhelming 77% of the 21,000+ submitters – in an extensive and lengthy inquiry – have rejected calls for euthanasia.

“It is time for New Zealand and David Seymour to move on from the current political push for assisted suicide, and 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,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Safe euthanasia is a myth. Euthanasia will remove the ‘choice’ of many vulnerable people, and fails the public safety test. 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, the disabled and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide.”

The government report released in August shared this concern, saying:
“Many submitters were concerned that if assisted dying was legalized, people would see death as an acceptable response to suffering. It would be difficult to say that some situations warranted ending one’s life while others do not. These submitters were concerned that while terminal illnesses would initially be the only scenario in which ending one’s life would be considered acceptable, this would quickly widen to include any degree of physical pain, then to include mental pain, and then in response to many other situations that arise throughout life… Several submitters suggested that, during their worst periods of depression, they would have opted for euthanasia had it been available in New Zealand.”

Advocates of assisted suicide tried to suggest that suicide can be categorised as either “rational” or “irrational”. But the government report also said:
“This distinction was not supported by any submitters working in the field of suicide prevention or grief counselling. On the contrary, we heard from youth counsellors and youth suicide prevention organisations that suicide is always undertaken in response to some form of suffering, whether that is physical, emotional, or mental.”
 
Family First will be mounting a rigorous campaign against the bill, should it make it past its 1st Reading.
www.rejectassistedsuicide.nz 
ENDS

Extremist Victoria Says Yes, NSW Says No To Euthanasia

By | Media Releases

Media Release 23 November 2017
Family First NZ says that Victoria has gone against the worldwide trend and introduced a flawed and dangerous assisted suicide law – a week after the New South Wales upper house voted down a similar bill.

“Victoria is well known for its extremist laws, including its extreme abortion law which allows abortion on demand right up to birth. Ironically, Victoria’s euthanasia law has come under attack from a euthanasia supporter Philip Nitschke who believes in suicide as a human right and said that Victoria’s bill was the “world’s most unworkable end-of-life law and that it was not going to change the growing demand by elderly people to suicide as a right,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Safe euthanasia is a myth. Victoria’s 68 ‘safeguards’ will not provide any comfort. NSW Labour health spokesman Walt Secord said, during the NSW debate, “I have not yet seen it possible to develop adequate legislative safeguards to protect people from the misuse of these laws. I have not yet seen a legislative model in this area that cannot be exploited or manipulated. And I cannot support any gaps for exploitation when the consequences are so final.” New South Wales political leaders have realised this and voted accordingly, and New Zealand politicians should do likewise.”

Rejection of assisted suicide has been dominant throughout the world. An analysis of attempts in the USA to allow assisted suicide reveal an overwhelming failure rate associated with such legislation: fewer than 1% of all assisted suicide bills become law. Just this year, 46 bills to legalise assisted suicide in 27 states have been defeated, despite proponents of assisted suicide spending heavily. Between 2015-2017, legislation was also defeated in Scotland, United Kingdom, South Australia and Tasmania, with the only successes coming in Canada, and the three US states of California, Colorado and Washington, DC.

“The government report released earlier this year as a result of the Inquiry in NZ revealed that the level of opposition to euthanasia is no anomaly, and explains why a select committee comprising both proponents and opponents of assisted suicide could not endorse any change to the law.”

“It is time for New Zealand and David Seymour to move on from the current political push for assisted suicide, and 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

Defeat Of Assisted Suicide Law in NSW Welcomed

By | Media Releases

Media Release 17 November 2017
Family First NZ is welcoming news that the New South Wales upper house has voted down a bill on assisted suicide.

“Safe euthanasia is a myth. The Australian political leaders have realised this and voted accordingly, and New Zealand politicians should do likewise,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

NSW Labour health spokesman Walt Secord said, during the debate, “I have not yet seen it possible to develop adequate legislative safeguards to protect people from the misuse of these laws. I have not yet seen a legislative model in this area that cannot be exploited or manipulated. And I cannot support any gaps for exploitation when the consequences are so final.

The defeat in NSW follows a trend worldwide. An analysis of attempts in the USA to allow assisted suicide reveal an overwhelming failure rate associated with such legislation: fewer than 1% of all assisted suicide bills become law. Just this year, 46 bills to legalise assisted suicide in 27 states have been defeated, despite proponents of assisted suicide spending heavily. Between 2015-2017, legislation was also defeated in Scotland, United Kingdom, South Australia and Tasmania, with the only successes coming in Canada, and the three US states of California, Colorado and Washington, DC.

“The government report released earlier this year as a result of the Inquiry in NZ revealed that the level of opposition to euthanasia is no anomaly, and explains why a select committee comprising both proponents and opponents of assisted suicide could not endorse any change to the law. They understand that 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, the disabled and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide.”

“It is time for New Zealand and David Seymour to move on from the current political push for assisted suicide, and 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

Bob McCoskrie: Assisted suicide is still a form of suicide

By | Media Releases

Newshub Online 13 Sep 2017
http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/health/2017/09/bob-mccoskrie-assisted-suicide-is-still-a-form-of-suicide.html

In a recent exchange with Family First. Nitschke tweeted; ‘Suicide is a fundamental human right – one that society has no moral right to interfere with’.

I find that attitude highly disturbing.

In 2014, euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke came under fire from two Australian suicide prevention organisations, Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute, after his involvement in the suicide of a physically healthy 45-year-old Australian man. In 2009, a Wellington woman ended her life with Nembutal, after receiving advice on how to obtain it from Dr Nitschke. She was a life-member of EXIT and was suffering from depression, but was physically fit and not suffering a terminal illness.

Many people believe that the 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.

And this appears to be the theme of the Facebook post by National MP Simon O’Connor – even if it was clumsily expressed.

Yet another MP Chester Borrows was even more blunt recently. “We have a horrific record on suicide and I think it sends a message that sometimes it is okay to top yourself. And I disagree with that.”

An analysis of the 21,000-plus submissions to the Select Committee considering euthanasia over the past 12 months found that almost a quarter of submissions opposing euthanasia were concerned about mixed messages being sent about suicide to the young and disabled.

You don’t discourage suicide by assisting suicide.

There is a ‘social contagion’ aspect to suicide – assisted or non-assisted – and we need more discussion about suicide prevention, not euthanasia.

Laws permitting assisted suicide send a societal message that, under especially difficult circumstances, some lives are judged to be not worth living — and that suicide is a reasonable or appropriate way out of dealing with suffering.

The Scottish Parliament considered this issue when considering the introduction of an assisted suicide bill in 2015 and said :

“The Committee is concerned that this has the potential not only to undermine the general suicide prevention message by softening cultural perceptions of suicide at the perimeters, but also to communicate an offensive message to certain members of our community (many of whom may be particularly vulnerable) that society would regard it as ‘reasonable’, rather than tragic, if they wished to end their lives.”

Protracted discussion and the promotion of assisted suicide / euthanasia and related cases will – even unintentionally – undermine the suicide prevention message and goals in the following ways:

  • legalised assisted suicide can imply that the promotion of mental health and wellbeing for people in pain is futile or counterproductive, and that suicide is their best outcome
  • it would normalise positive portrayals of suicide in the public domain. People contemplating suicide may justify doing it based on positive stories and arguments they have heard about assisted suicide
  • it would ignore the possible harmful effects on families / whanau

The World Health Organization notes the scholarly research on the imitative nature of suicide:

“Systematic reviews of these (50) studies have consistently drawn the same conclusion: media reporting of suicide can lead to imitative suicidal behaviours.… Particular subgroups in the population (e.g., young people, people suffering from depression) may be especially vulnerable to engaging in imitative suicidal behaviours.

It can feed into people’s fears about dying, fears which are well dealt with through the sort of holistic care provided by palliative care.

David Seymour’s bill proposes assisted suicide for someone with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition”.

If you have ever struggled with mental illness, that definition absolutely fits – at the time.

A New Zealand Medical Journal report by New Zealand suicide researchers Annette Beautrais and David Fergusson says reporting on suicide in any way puts vulnerable people at risk.

It’s time to 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.

Robert Salamanca wanted to commit suicide after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. This was when Jack Kevorkian was – to much media acclaim – helping people with disabilities and terminal conditions kill themselves.

Eventually, he admitted, “I came out of the fog,” so happy to be alive. Bob spent his final years watching his children grow, investing successfully online to help his family financially, and collecting art. Before he died, Bob wrote a column for the San Francisco Chronicle titled “I Don’t Want a Choice to Die”:

“[R]eporting in the media too often makes us feel like token presences, burdens who are better off dead . . . Many pro-euthanasia groups “showcase” people with ALS. They portray us as feeble, unintelligible and dying by slow suffocation. This is absolutely false, and I protest their efforts vehemently. By receiving proper medical care, a terminally ill person can pass away peacefully, pain-free and with dignity. We are not people just waiting for someone to help us end our misery, but to the contrary, we are people reaching out to love . . . to be loved . . . wanting to feel life at its best. Too many people have accepted the presumption that an extermination of some human lives can be just… Where has our sense of community gone? True, terminal illness is frightening, but the majority of us overpower the symptoms and are great contributors to life.”

Suicide. Assisted suicide. We can live without them.