Mike Yardley: Legalising euthanasia a step onto a slippery slope

euthanasia-slippery-slopeStuff co.nz 25 October 2016
Family First Comment: Well said, Mike Yardley.
“The NZMA has reaffirmed their support for patient autonomy, the right for patients to refuse treatment, advance directives, do not resuscitate orders and the administration of pain relief, like morphine or midazolam, even if the secondary consequence of that medication expedites their death.”
#rejectassistedsuicide

OPINION: Flying home to Christchurch last week, assisted dying was playing on my mind.

No, not in response to the feckless behaviour of some passengers, but on the back of a chat with Karen, a lovely traveller from Oregon. She was intrigued that voluntary euthanasia was the subject of a parliamentary select committee inquiry in New Zealand.

Karen supported Oregon legalising the practise in 1995, but now deeply regretted doing so, “because the so-called safeguards are being overwhelmingly ignored.”

Like most Kiwis, I wrestled with the issue. No matter how we try and dress it up, euthanasia remains a profoundly vexing issue. But in all good conscience, I cannot support its legalisation.

Ahead of the Select Committee Inquiry, Sir Geoffrey Palmer laudably crafted a proposed law-change with an extensive set of criteria to strictly govern assisted suicide for a person with “a grievous and incurable medical condition that caused intolerable suffering.”

They include that the person must be at least 18, is capable of making decisions, their condition is certified by two medical practitioners, a doctor is available to carry out the assistance and a Family Court judge has to certify whether the criteria had been met.

It’s hard to see how some of these hurdles could be overcome, given the steadfast opposition of the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) to euthanasia.

Karen mentioned to me that in Oregon, the law supposedly restricts assisted suicide to the terminally ill with six months to live, but that is being widely flouted.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/85670299/mike-yardley-legalising-euthanasia-a-step-onto-a-slippery-slope

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