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Euthanasia Bill Should Die A Natural Death

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Media Release 9 April 2019 
Family First NZ says that the Select Committee considering David Seymour’s assisted suicide bill have been unable to agree that the bill be passed, and warn that the bill is ‘not workable in its present state’.

“No real, substantive changes have been made to the bill – it’s still a mess. The Committee has made no judgement on the Bill, no indication of what substantive changes could make it better, but have simply left that up to the whole House, despite many MPs who voted for the bill in the 1st Reading saying that they would be waiting for the Committee to tell them how to make the bill better and safer before supporting it further. The message to these MPs is now clear – kill the bill,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“ACT MP David Seymour’s significant backdowns on the bill last year also indicate just how weak and flawed the bill is. The backdowns are certainly in contrast to his earlier attacks, including his statements that There’s just so much scaremongering that doesn’t stand up to evidence and One of the biggest obstacles are MPs who are not in touch with their electorates…and also MPs who may have been coloured by some of the scare-mongering from the other side.”

This Bill is just as much of a mess coming out of Committee as it was going in. The Committee was given 16 months to study the bill, hear submissions, and try to fix it. They simply couldn’t, because it’s a flawed, dangerous bill,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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.

“Assisted suicide is not a simple yes / no answer. Those who have taken time to consider the consequences and implications of assisted suicide – and especially those in the health sector – have quickly realised its major dangers, especially to the vulnerable, elderly and disabled. This nuance is difficult to capture with a simple yes / no phone survey, sometimes with leading questions.”
ENDS

Overwhelming Majority Tell MPs To Kill The Euthanasia Bill

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Media Release 31 March 2019 
Family First NZ, a member of the Care Alliance which has analysed the almost-39,000 submissions made regarding David Seymour’s assisted suicide bill, says that there is overwhelming opposition to the bill being considered by Parliament and that MPs should vote against the bill at 2nd Reading.

The just-released report provides an analysis of 38,707 written submissions made to the Justice Select Committee, each of which was read by volunteers of the Care Alliance. They say that the submissions “represent the views and stories of a large, diverse and thoughtful cross-section of all New Zealanders; young and old (aged 8–94), different ethnicities (Maori, New Zealand European, Pasifika, Asian), different occupations and walks of life, religious and non-religious, conceptual and experiential. In short, the submissions paint a heart-felt and deeply human picture of the views held by many New Zealanders who have considered the implications of legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide, and had sufficient strength of feeling to write in and make their views known.”

The analysis reveals the following:

  • Overall, 91.8% were opposed to the Bill
  • 93.5% of submissions received from doctors, nurses and other health care staff were opposed
  • 90.6% of organisations which submitted were opposed
  • 90.5% of submissions made no reference at all to religious arguments
  • all submissions made by churches were opposed, including a Buddhist group and a Muslim charitable organisation supported by 13 other Muslim welfare groups and organisations within NZ

“Assisted suicide is not a simple yes / no answer. Those who have taken time to consider the consequences and implications of assisted suicide quickly realise its major dangers – especially to the vulnerable, elderly and disabled. This nuance is difficult to capture with a simple yes / no phone survey, sometimes with leading questions,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“ACT MP David Seymour’s significant backdowns on his assisted suicide bill last year indicate just how weak and flawed the bill is. The backdowns are certainly in contrast to his earlier attacks on our justified concerns, including his statements that There’s just so much scaremongering that doesn’t stand up to evidence and One of the biggest obstacles are MPs who are not in touch with their electorates…and also MPs who may have been coloured by some of the scare-mongering from the other side. There was never any ‘scaremongering’. There was – and continues to be – opposition to this bill based on credible research internationally in jurisdictions that have euthanasia available, and from medical professionals in New Zealand who know the effect such a law would have on their work and on society.”

“(The Euthanasia Bill) is a political stunt that will give profile to David Seymour”- Dr David Clark – Minister of Health (June 2017)

The key arguments advanced by submitters opposed to the Bill fell into six main categories:

  1. Implementing the Bill would lead to multiple adverse societal impacts on vulnerable people including the terminally ill.
  2. Experience in the few overseas jurisdictions that have legalised assisted suicide and euthanasia is not reassuring, and it inevitably leads to broadened eligibility criteria.
  3. State-approval through legalisation sends a powerful message that assisted suicide and euthanasia are socially acceptable, undermining suicide prevention efforts.
  4. Ending patient lives is not a part of healthcare, medical treatment or what doctors are trained to do, and it will erode doctor-patient relationships and trust.
  5. Terminating a life through administering lethal drugs is contrary to a medical ethics tradition that can be traced back to the Hippocratic Oath in Greek times.
  6. Palliative care properly implemented and resourced adequately relieves suffering and demonstrates true compassion without loss of hope.

“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 will be those who decide for euthanasia on the basis of an unduly pessimistic prognosis. 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.”

“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. This is the real risk to young and to vulnerable people, the disabled and the elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide.”
ENDS

Overwhelming Opposition Confirmed On Assisted Suicide Bill

By | Media, Media Releases

Media Release 11 November 2018 
Family First NZ says that the overwhelming opposition to David Seymour’s assisted suicide bill by submitters to the Select Committee is no surprise and was already indicated during the earlier Inquiry by the Health Select Committee.

According to an analysis of a substantial number of the submissions by the Care Alliance, a whopping 92% of submissions are against David Seymour’s bill, and is significantly higher than the already-high 77% opposition during the Health Select Committee’s earlier investigation.

“This is opposition from all walks of life and professional groups across the spectrum. Supporters of assisted suicide have tried to argue that the only opposition comes from ‘religious’ people, but in the recent Inquiry, 82% of submissions opposed to euthanasia contained no reference to religious arguments. Ironically, 208 submissions referred to religious reasoning in supporting euthanasia,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Supporters of Seymour’s bill had their chance to campaign and get people to submit in support of the law change. The fact of the matter is that the support has been found wanting.”

“It is also ironic that ex-MP Maryan Street implied that a record 22,000 responses to her earlier petition meant that it is time to legalise euthanasia. In fact, the message is clearly the exact opposite. New Zealanders want a conversation – but they are opposed to assisted suicide as the solution.”

“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. 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 politicians should give New Zealanders a real Christmas present and move on from the current political push for assisted suicide, and 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

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

Pledge to protect

By | Media

“We, the undersigned, oppose any attempt to legalise assisted suicide / euthanasia in New Zealand.
We call for the provision of the highest quality palliative care to be made available in all areas of New Zealand.”
signPledge

FAMILY MATTERS: EUTHANASIA – ARE YOU READY FOR THE DEBATE?

By | Featured, Media, Media Releases

Euthanasia (or assisted suicide) has certainly been in the media a lot lately. There is a strong push for it to be decriminalised in NZ as has happened in a few overseas countries.
Are you ready for this debate? Do you know the key arguments for euthanasia and how to counter them? Can you define ‘euthanasia’? (There is a lot of misunderstanding over the definition, which is further confusing the debate.) Why should we oppose euthanasia? What does the overseas experience show?
Please – take just a few minutes to watch our latest episode of Family Matters.
And then take the time to read and digest our report “Killing Me Softly – Should Euthanasia Be Legalised?”
CLICK HERE to download the Executive Summary
CLICK HERE to download the Full Report
We need your voice and energy on this important family issue, as well as ours.
Thank you for standing with us as we speak up for families.

Euthanasia Report Warns of Elder Abuse & Coercion

By | Media

 killing me softly cover pageA report on the history of the euthanasia debate in New Zealand and an examination of the law and the research evidence overseas warns of the potential for even greater levels of elder abuse if euthanasia were to be decriminalised in NZ. The Report “Killing Me Softly – Should Euthanasia Be Legalised?” by Professor Rex Ahdar of Otago University says that safeguards can only go so far, that coercion is subtle, and that patients will ask themselves why they are not availing themselves of it. He warns that the potential for abuse and flouting of procedural safeguards is also a strong argument against legalisation.
The report was commissioned by family group Family First NZ in response to another promised attempt to change the law by Labour MP Maryan Street after the upcoming general election.
The report warns that in practice, safeguards can only go so far, and that coercion is subtle. The everyday reality is that terminally ill persons and those afflicted with non-terminal but irreversible and unbearable physical or mental conditions are vulnerable to self-imposed pressure. They 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” to their nearest and dearest. Simply offering the possibility of euthanasia or doctor-assisted suicide shifts the burden of proof, so that patients must ask themselves why they are not availing themselves of it.
A recent study found that 32 percent of all assisted deaths in the Flemish region of Belgium were done without the patient’s explicit request. The requirement to report euthanasia has not been fully complied with in nations that have legalised euthanasia either.
There is some empirical evidence too from these same nations that the availability and application of euthanasia expands to situations initially ruled out as beyond the pale. For example, euthanasia has been extended to enable minors to avail themselves of it with parental consent in the Netherlands and, most recently, Belgium. Labour MP Maryan Street has been reported as saying “Application for children with terminal illness was a bridge too far in my view at this time. That might be something that may happen in the future, but not now.”
The report also notes that the majority of the medical profession and national medical associations around the world have been resolutely against the introduction of voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, amidst real concerns that the role of the doctor would be irrevocably changed from healer to, at times, killer; from caring professional who saves lives to one who takes them. Inevitably, patient trust would be eroded.
The report concludes that any decriminalisation of euthanasia will introduce the era of “therapeutic killing”.
ENDS
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