The Nation on euthanasia

This morning on The Nation they interviewed two people with opposing views on euthanasia.

Is the current law forcing good people to die badly?

Voluntary euthanasia hit the headlines last year when the Lecretia Seales case divided public opinion.

As a result, Parliament launched an inquiry into legalisation. So far more than 20,000 public submissions have been received.

So is it time to allow euthanasia or are the risks of getting it wrong too great?

The Nation spoke with Aussie TV and radio host and pro-euthanasia campaigner Andrew Denton and Matthew Jansen from lobby group Care Alliance.

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26 Comments

  1. This is a very emotional subject for which I doubt that a rational solution can be found. I assume it is aimed at elderly people whose condition is such that palliative care is unable to ensure they are not living in pain. Young people should never be considered for euthanasia just because they are in pain from a life threatening condition because who knows when possible may be made available. The Medical Oath demands that Doctors do no harm. Does that permit them to take life in these situations? I think not, and I have never met or heard of a Doctor who called for this to occur.
    There are some religious objections to this course of action as well, which would affect others left behind. My personal experience with dying people is they all wanted to live and fought against death. Suicide is a cowards way out for people who can’t cope because they do not believe they are in control of their destiny and bodies, they need to be taught how to take control. As far as the failure of palliative care for some elderly patients is concerned (and I think this is the leading edge of the support for euthanasia), that is a medical research problem which deserves some priority for real scientific and medical research. Leave the killing to soldiers in combat.

    Reply
  2. Don W

     /  18th June 2016

    I own my own life. We are all going to die. I am just a few years away from being eligible for superannuation and I hope I have many years left before I meet the grim reaper. but I don’t want someone else deciding if and when I should live or die, that should be my decision if I am able to make such decision. As Kenny Rodgers, the gambler song , ” The best you can hope for is to die in your sleep” Not that many years back my father who was approaching 90 had a heart attack and at the hospital the doctor asked me if should we resuscitate him if he relapsed . As my father was lucid , I told the doctor to ask my father, It was not my decision to make. He said he wanted to be revived. He lived till he as 94. Being asked to make a decision on , should he be resuscitated It still haunts me.

    Reply
    • Halliver

       /  18th June 2016

      Government owns your life. Don’t believe me? take your clothes of and run out side. The police will arrest you. You don’t anything.

      Reply
      • Don W

         /  18th June 2016

        Halliver. The Gov’t may think they own my life , but that will be the day. Taking your clothes off and run out side , I think I did that some 40 years back, It was called streaking.

        Reply
        • Brown

           /  19th June 2016

          If people own their life and can commit suicide why do people who are pro euthanasia get all weepy and say we should do something about suicide? Could it be these people only want you to be able to commit suicide when its for a reason they approve of? If so, those people who think they own their life are claiming they own your life as well when it suits them.

          I struggle with this because I think its hard to be pro life and pro death at the same time.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  19th June 2016

            You might consider that people who are pro happiness want to help people who are depressed or bullied without taking away their right to self determination. I don’t see that as hard to grasp.

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  19th June 2016

            You are unable, Brown, to grasp the difference between people committing suicide because of depression or overwhelming sadness or other circumstances who can be helped to find a way to go on and lead a happy or satisfactory life, and those with terminal conditions whose death is inevitable, is going to be horrific and without any dignity, and who wish to arrange the time and manner of their dying in way that allows them to pass in a peace and dignity they wish.

            Maybe read montikaza’s comment below?

            Reply
  3. Corky

     /  19th June 2016

    Doctors already practice euthanasia, either through starvation or upping the morphine dose. I recently watched a cousin starve to death over a few days.

    Time to legalise it.

    Reply
    • Brown

       /  20th June 2016

      See, I ask a sensible question and you all trot out the terminally ill person case with little awareness in awful pain who shits their pants because that is an easy sell. We know from the European experience that depressed people are being killed, even the young, when there is nothing much wrong with them physically. That is assisted suicide in the most callous and blatant form I could imagine. What is to stop us going down that road as well?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  20th June 2016

        The legislation.

        Reply
        • Brown

           /  20th June 2016

          Like RMA? Dream on. In Europe there are claims that less than half the cases had the legally required paper work completed.

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  20th June 2016

          I give you a sensible answer and you trot out your usual inflammatory hyperbolic claim that this will inevitably lead to depressed people “being killed”.

          1. Newsflash pastor, this isn’t “Europe”.
          2. Which country in “Europe” are you talking about?
          3. What about other non-European countries which permit assisted suicide?

          Get back to me when you have the answers.

          Reply
          • Brown

             /  20th June 2016

            I’m not a pastor so that’s just a nasty response. My concern is that once you open the door you can’t close it. I have no confidence in politicians to balance their cheque books let alone get this right. I’m not claiming to have the answer here and am not against euthanasia per se but just wonder if turning a blind eye as we do now is a lesser danger.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  20th June 2016

              Sorry for calling you a pastor. I wouldn’t have thought a Christian would consider that a nasty thing to be.

              I know what your concern is, you mention it all the time. It doesn’t seem that much different from those people who used to question how long it would be before legalising homosexuality would lead to making it compulsory.

              Turning a blind eye as we do now is breaking the law to do the right thing. The cases in which we turn a blind eye are the ones that proponents are arguing should be legal Brown – but earlier, at the request of the individual concerned. It is their choice & they should have the right to make it.

  4. I’ve watched people die. It’s not a pleasant experience. I’d rather take a fast and painless way out if i knew a had a terminal health condition. Takes a while for people to die. Watching them struggle to breathe, smelling the decay in the room, loss of bodily functions, soiling themselves, skin breaking down. Person’s not even fully conscious – loaded up with sedatives and pain relief. And that can go on for days to weeks. I’d rather skip that part of the dying process.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  19th June 2016

      Do you want to see your wife slowly die looking like a Somali famine victim totally zonked out on morphine, Brown? Been there, don’t need any more ethical advice from those who haven’t.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  19th June 2016

        why on earth would a Somali famine victim be zonked out on morphine’?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  19th June 2016

          To avoid listening to you, Blazer?

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  19th June 2016

            Get out of the wrong side of bed this morning…go for a walk,a long one and clear your mind.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  19th June 2016

              My mind is clear. It’s my eyes that are fogged from your drizzle. Yes, time to walk the dogs for more intelligent company.

  5. I note that 22,000 people have signed the petition, this represents less than the grand sum of 0.55% of New Zealand’s 4 million plus people. If there were a weaker case for the proposition, I doubt it. The proposers for change have not got significant support yet for change.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  19th June 2016

      “There have been 22,000 submissions on a petition to legalise euthanasia in New Zealand – a debate that is on track to break Parliamentary records.

      The petition, from the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, was presented to Parliament a year ago.

      Parliament’s health committee is considering the petition, and is working through about 22,000 submissions.

      The petition’s sponsor, former Labour MP Maryan Street, said the “flood” of submissions was at a level last seen during debate on the marriage equality bill.

      There were 21,500 submissions on the marriage equality legislation in 2012.”

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11659336

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  19th June 2016

        Note: “Submissions”, bj.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  19th June 2016

          And, for contrast:
          Anti-gay-marriage petition has 72,000 signatures
          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10860634

          How did that one work out?

          Reply
          • Brown

             /  20th June 2016

            The question we should ask is what would have been the result if we had a referendum? The politicians are consistently too frightened to allow that so its not really democracy. I’d hardly ever get what I wanted with referenda I suspect but would have to accept that if the decisions were democratic.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  20th June 2016

              Problems with referendums, apart from cost, include deciding what issues should be put to a referendum, and how many times referendums on the same issue should be done, because public attitudes on issues often change over time.

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