Media Release 29 April 2012
Family First NZ says that any bill to decriminalise euthanasia would lead to disabled, sick and elderly people coming to be viewed as a burden upon the taxpayer, society and their families – and that it would send a dangerous message to young people about suicide and the value of life.
“A Sunday Star Times poll is trying to suggest that there is support for a law change – but hard and exceptional cases result in bad lawmaking, and this poll is inconsistent with other more independent and reliable polls,” saysBob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“We should be focusing on making quality palliative and social care available – not promoting killing as an easy solution to a complex situation. In a culture of euthanasia, disabled, sick, socially disadvantaged, and elderly people come to be viewed as a burden upon the taxpayer, society and their families.”
“This is not a ‘rights’ issue. This is a medical debate and how we better care for the weak and vulnerable in our society,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The safeguards which are suggested may sound good, but international experience has shown that they often don’t become reality. Despite written consent laws in Netherlands and Belgium, up to a 1/3’rd of euthanasia cases were carried out without request or consent. Despite mandatory reporting requirements, in Belgium, nearly half of all cases aren’t reported. In the Netherlands, at least 20 per cent of all cases aren’t reported.”
“There is also huge concern about the slippery slope effect. Why deny euthanasia to a patient who was suffering but who was not terminally ill, such as someone with severe arthritis? Why deny euthanasia to people who were not sick but who wanted to die for other reasons, such as the loss of a beloved spouse, or animal, or because of long-term unemployment? Or an unhappy teenager who is simply unhappy with their life? This is the exact opposite message to that which governments, educators, therapists and social workers are trying to reinforce.
In England in 2006, over 70 percent of members of the Royal College of Physicians (and over 95 percent of those in the specialty of palliative medicine) agreed with the following statement: “With improvements in palliative care, good clinical care can be provided within existing legislation and …patients can die with dignity. A change in legislation is not needed.”
“The sick and dying deserve care and protection – not an underlying message that euthanasia will fix everything,” says Bob McCoskrie