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Marlborough man and ‘inspiration’ Braden Mason dies after long battle with cancer

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Stuff.co.nz 6 March 2020
Family First Comment: In 2005 at age six Braden was diagnosed with ependymoma, an inoperable form of cancer which affected his brain and spine to the point where he was unable to walk. His son had a “stubborn streak”. He was given just a few months, but lived another 15 years

“It didn’t matter how hard things got for him, he’d just try again,” Ray Mason said of his son Braden, who died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.

“When he could no longer do something because of physical constraints, he’d be upset for a few days and then he’d pick himself up and find something else, until he could no longer do that.”

In 2005 at age six Braden was diagnosed with ependymoma, an inoperable form of cancer which affected his brain and spine to the point where he was unable to walk.

His son had a “stubborn streak”. He was given just a few months, but lived another 15 years, Ray said.

Braden never let his illness or his wheelchair prevent him from loving life and trying new things, his family said.

“Even though he was in a wheelchair he gave jet-skiing a go, he did archery, he did drifting,” his mum Heather Mason said.

“Braden always collected for Child Cancer. He made that his mission.” She said he dug deep and did that even when he was feeling unwell.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/120029958/marlborough-man-and-inspiration-braden-mason-dies-after-long-battle-with-cancer

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New poll shows support for both recreational cannabis and euthanasia dropping

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NewsHub 18 February 2020
Family First Comment: 😊

Support for both recreational cannabis and euthanasia has dropped in the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll.

And even if the public votes ‘yes’ on legalising cannabis – MPs may have the final say in a conscience vote.

More than 4000 New Zealanders were charged with cannabis offences in 2018/19, but it’s a struggle for drug reform campaigners to get the public on their side.

The latest Newshub Reid-Research poll asked the referendum question the public will be asked in the referendum this election: do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?

  • 39.4 percent said ‘yes’
  • 47.7 percent said ‘no ‘
  • 11.6 percent said ‘don’t know’

The Bill would make recreational cannabis legal for over 20s, with restrictions.

Euthanasia referendum
Our poll also asked the euthanasia referendum question: Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2017 coming into force?

61.9 percent said yes
23.7 percent said no

ACT leader David Seymour, who’s behind the proposed legislation, says: “The majority of NZers have seen bad death and they’re saying ‘when my time comes not for me it’s my life and it should be my choice’.”

Euthanasia just one of three big choices the public will make on Election Day in September.
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/02/new-poll-shows-support-for-both-recreational-cannabis-and-euthanasia-dropping.html
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Support for legalising euthanasia dips, but majority still in favour – poll

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TVNZ One News 14 February 2020
Family First Comment: It will continue to drop as we highlight the deep flaws in the proposed bill.
Even for people who support some sort of euthanasia, they certainly shouldn’t support the bill just approved by the MPs.
Protect.org.nz

Support for legalising euthanasia has dropped, according to the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll – despite still holding a favourable majority.

It comes as the question for legalising euthanasia, or sticking with the status quo, is set to go to the public on September 19.

Those polled were asked, ‘Do you think you will vote for euthanasia to be legalised, or for euthanasia to remain illegal?’

Legalise euthanasia – 65%
Remain illegal – 25%
Will not vote – 1%
Don’t know / Refused – 9% 

The groups of people who were more like likely than average to intend to vote in favour of the legalisation of euthanasia were Green Party supporters, men aged 55 and over, people with an annual household income of more than $150,000 and New Zealand Europeans.

Those who were more likely than average to intend to vote against legalisation were Asian New Zealanders, Pacific peoples and women aged 55 and over.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/support-legalising-euthanasia-dips-but-majority-still-in-favour-poll

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Dutch euthanasia centre sees 22% rise in requests in 2019

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TVNZ One News 8 February 2020
Family First Comment: “The number of people with dementia who received euthanasia rose from 70 in 2018 to 96 last year, the Euthanasia Expertise Center said. Two of those cases involved patients with dementia so advanced they were considered mentally incapacitated.”
#slipperyslope
Protect.org.nz

A Dutch organisation that carries out euthanasia received 3122 requests last year, a 22 per cent increase from the year before, the Euthanasia Expertise Center said today.

“Every work day, 13 people say: ‘Help me, I can’t go on,'” Steven Pleiter, director of the centre formerly known as the End of Life Clinic, said.

The centre has experts who advise general practitioners in euthanasia cases and teams made up of doctors, psychiatrists and nurses who visit patients to evaluate their requests and administer fatal doses of drugs if they meet euthanasia criteria.

The Netherlands in 2002 became the first country in the world to legalise euthanasia. It can only be performed by physicians who administer fatal drug doses under strict conditions.

The centre said it honored nearly 900, or about one-third, of the requests it received in 2019.

 The requests often were in cases of people with dementia or suffering multiple physical complaints linked to old age.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/dutch-euthanasia-centre-sees-22-rise-in-requests-2019
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Belgium euthanasia: Three doctors accused in unprecedented trial

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BBC News 14 January 2020
Family First Comment: Strict? Yeah right. 
“Euthanasia and assisted suicide were made legal under strict conditions in Belgium in 2002. The family argue that her reason for seeking to end her life was because of a failed relationship, far short of the “serious and incurable disorder” as required under Belgian law.”
Don’t do it, New Zealand.
Protect.org.nz

In an unprecedented case, three Belgian doctors are going on trial in Ghent accused of unlawfully poisoning a patient whose life they helped to end.

Tine Nys, 38, died surrounded by her family on 27 April 2010.

Her sisters argue that her death should never have been allowed under Belgium’s euthanasia law, and that it was achieved in an amateurish manner.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide were made legal under strict conditions in Belgium in 2002.

Nys’s family argue that her reason for seeking to end her life was because of a failed relationship, far short of the “serious and incurable disorder” as required under Belgian law.

The three doctors from East Flanders who are going on trial have not been named, but they include the doctor who carried out the lethal injection and Nys’s former doctor and a psychiatrist. If found guilty they could face long jail terms.
READ MORE: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51103687

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Wendi Wicks: New Zealand’s euthanasia bill is a step into the unknown for disabled people

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The Guardian 14 November 2019
Family First Comment: Well said, Wendi
“The bill cannot and does not make firm distinctions between personal illness and disability or between terminal illness and chronic conditions, or between terminal illness and depression or other mental illness. It relies on prognosis and diagnosis, which are imprecise arts. It doesn’t protect against coercion, competency or consent abuses. It doesn’t allow for a cooling-down period like Oregon or Victoria have. Safeguards are vague and lax. Worse still, there’s a sense that a certain level of wrongful death is acceptable.”
#protect

Disabled people need to feel safe and this legislation leaves grey areas between terminal illness and chronic conditions

On Wednesday night, New Zealand MPs voted to adopt the end of life choice bill despite any number of warnings that it is a dangerous piece of work. It is risky to disabled people and unsafe to all.

In 2016, Canada passed euthanasia legislation and a consortium of appalled disabled Canadians fought a desperate rearguard action to bring in a vulnerable person’s standard (VPS). We’d not need that sort of thing, I thought. Clearly I was complacent. Disabled Australians, Canadians and Americans are appalled at euthanasia bills while British, Irish and Scots are incandescent.

I feel betrayed by Parliament’s vote. Do we need something like a VPS here, for disabled New Zealanders I wonder?

Now all that stands between us and this bill is a referendum scheduled to coincide with our next general election, in 2020. Then there may be no way for the community of disabled people like me (25% of New Zealand’s population), to feel safe from wrongful death.

The law creates a risk to individuals in our community of disabled people and to our community as a whole. How can any MP be able to agree to a measure that endangers a whole community that they are not a member of? Our legislative safeguards have stepped into the shadows and too many MPs think that’s an acceptable trade-off. A friendly QC commented on my vulnerability to the law thus: “You’re toast.” Me and how many other disabled people?

Our concerns about the bill are many. They include that the bill cannot and does not make firm distinctions between personal illness and disability or between terminal illness and chronic conditions, or between terminal illness and depression or other mental illness. It relies on prognosis and diagnosis, which are imprecise arts. It doesn’t protect against coercion, competency or consent abuses.

It doesn’t allow for a cooling-down period like Oregon or Victoria have. Safeguards are vague and lax. Worse still, there’s a sense that a certain level of wrongful death is acceptable.
READ MORE: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/nov/14/new-zealands-euthanasia-bill-is-a-step-into-the-unknown-for-disabled-people

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Assisted Suicide / Euthanasia – How they voted (3rd Reading)

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The Campaign To PROTECT has now been launched.

The 3rd and final reading of the assisted suicide / euthanasia bill happened last night. The only way the liberals were able to get the bill ‘across the line’ was to offer a referendum – a tool that normally they want nothing to do with (remember the anti-smacking 87% referendum?). That’s how weak this bill is.

The so-called ‘safeguards’ – many of which were not even allowed to be debated – will not guarantee the protection required for vulnerable people.

We need to apply the precautionary principle: the higher the risk – the higher the burden of proof on those proposing liberalisation of the law. But the risk of abuse simply cannot be eliminated. How many euthanasia ‘mistakes’ are we willing to accept? We say NONE.

That’s why we will be strongly and vigorously promoting a NO vote in the referendum at the end of next year. 



How they voted…..

NATIONAL MPs:

Voted Against Euthanasia:

Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Maggie Barry, Andrew Bayly, David Bennett, Dan Bidois, Simon Bridges, Simeon Brown, Gerry Brownlee, David Carter, Jacqui Dean, Sarah Dowie, Paulo Garcia, Paul Goldsmith, Nathan Guy, Jo Hayes, Harete Hipango, Denise Lee, Melissa Lee, Agnes Loheni, Tim Macindoe, Todd McClay, Ian McKelvie, Todd Muller, Alfred Ngaro, Simon O’Connor, Parmjeet Parmar, Chris Penk, Maureen Pugh, Shane Reti, Alastair Scott, Nick Smith, Anne Tolley, Louise Upston, Nicky Wagner, Hamish Walker, Michael Woodhouse, Jonathan Young, Lawrence Yule  (38)


Voted For Euthanasia
:

Amy Adams, Paula Bennett, Chris Bishop, Judith Collins, Matt Doocey, Andrew Falloon, Brett Hudson, Nikki Kaye, Matt King, Barbara Kuriger, Mark Mitchell, Scott Simpson, Stuart Smith, Erica Stanford, Tim van de Molen, Nicola Willis, Jian Yang (17)
LABOUR: 

Voted Against Euthanasia:

David Clark, Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki, Damien O’Connor, Adrian Rurawhe, Deborah Russell, Jenny Salesa, Aupito Tofe Sua William Sio, Jamie Strange, Rino Tirikatene, Phil Twyford, Meka Whaitiri, Michael Wood, Poto Williams (13)

 

Voted For Euthanasia:

Kiri Allan, Ginny Andersen, Jacinda Ardern, Tamati Coffey, Liz Craig, Clare Curran, Kelvin Davis, Ruth Dyson, Paul Eagle, Kris Faafoi, Peeni Henare, Chris Hipkins, Raymond Huo, Willie Jackson, Iain Lees-Galloway, Andrew Little, Marja Lubeck, Jo Luxton, Nanaia Mahuta, Trevor Mallard, Kieran McAnulty, Stuart Nash, Greg O’Connor, David Parker, Willow-Jean Prime, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Grant Robertson, Carmel Sepuloni, Jan Tinetti, Louisa Wall, Angie Warren-Clark, Duncan Webb, Megan Woods (33)
NZ FIRST MPs: 

Voted For Euthanasia:

Darroch Ball, Shane Jones, Jenny Marcroft, Ron Mark, Tracey Martin, Clayton Mitchell, Mark Patterson, Winston Peters, Fletcher Tabuteau (all 9 MPs)
GREEN MPs: 

Voted For Euthanasia:

Marama Davidson, Julie Anne Genter, Golriz Ghahraman, Gareth Hughes, Jan Logie, Eugenie Sage, James Shaw, Chloe Swarbrick (all 8 MPs)
OTHER: 
David Seymour / Jami-Lee Ross

Why I oppose the End of Life Choice Bill, in plain English

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Stuff co.nz 13 November 2019
Family First Comment: A superb summation of why politicians should vote NO to assisted suicide.
But are they listening?
1 No protection from coercion
2 Broader than other o/s legislation
3 Given our suicide epidemic, this is too risky
4 Weak review system
5 Will reduce end of life care – esp to low income

OPINION: Later today, our MPs will cast their final vote on the End of Life Choice Bill. It all comes down to deciding whether the bill, with its changes, will ultimately deliver what it says.

My position on euthanasia is well known. I have spoken many times about why I am opposed in principle. But to my former colleagues I say, even if you agree in principle, this is not the bill to deliver euthanasia and assisted suicide to New Zealanders.

This bill, if it passes, will make New Zealand a less safe place for the old, the vulnerable, the depressed and the disabled, and here are five reasons why.

Firstly, it does not provide real protection from coercion. Talk to any doctor and they will tell you it is virtually impossible to detect subtle emotional coercion, and even overt coercion, at the best of times. Yet many people will be “signed off” by medical practitioners with little or no understanding of the patient’s family or social history, let alone medical history. The law requires doctors only to “do their best” – hardly an adequate measure of robust clinical care standards.

Secondly, I know that many MPs will be finely tuned to the “hard cases”. However, for all the talk about narrowing the legislation down, this bill is much broader than the new Victorian law, as well as those states in the United States where only assisted suicide is available. We know that, when euthanasia is included, the numbers accessing it are at least 10 times greater. This bill is “overkill” – if the argument was really about the hard cases, then it would be a much tighter bill.

Thirdly, there is the contentious and vexed question of the relationship between suicide rates and assisted dying. As 21 mental health practitioners and academics recently argued, there is mounting statistical evidence from Oregon, Belgium and the Netherlands to suggest that, as the numbers using assisted dying rise, so too do suicide rates. The onus is on David Seymour and the likes to prove it is safe, and he cannot do this. Until then, given our suicide epidemic, sensible and caring thinking says it is too risky to proceed.

Fourthly, the review system does not include access to patient records, as is the case in the Netherlands. So it is a much weaker law in that regard. Even then, after nearly 20 years, up to 23 per cent of euthanasia deaths are not being reported there. We can only guess what it would be like here with a less robust system.

Fifthly, there is growing evidence from Canada and the US that people are choosing euthanasia or assisted suicide because of a lack of access to proper end-of-life care – in other words because of a lack of real choice. To me that is unacceptable, especially when it is most likely to affect people in lower socio-economic areas. No-one can rightly claim that as a compassionate choice.

Five reasons why this bill will not deliver compassion. Five reasons to vote “No”.

* Former prime minister Sir Bill English has opposed the End of Life Choice Bill since its first reading.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/euthanasia-debate/117361324/why-i-oppose-the-end-of-life-choice-bill-in-plain-english

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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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