Matt Vickers to euthanasia inquiry

The inquiry into euthanasia, instigated by a 8795 signature petition to Parliament after the death of Lecretia Seales, started hearing submissions today. First to speak was Seale’s husband (now widower) Matt Vickers.

NZ Herald: Lecretia Seales’ husband makes emotional appeal to MPs about voluntary euthanasia

The husband of Lecretia Seales has made an emotional appeal to MPs to reform the law on voluntary euthanasia – saying fear and religious opposition should not deny others a choice.

Matt Vickers has travelled from his new home in New York and presented to Parliament’s health committee this morning, in front of a large number of media and members of the public.

“Why do we accept that the laws as they are force people to suffer against their wishes,” Vickers asked.

“I want to be crystal clear that Lecretia valued her life very much. She did not want to die…but she felt it was right for her to be able to choose the circumstances of her death.

“Assisted dying legislation is not a threat, but an opportunity.”

A large number of submissions against changing the law were based on religious reasons…

Probably organised opposition, as often happens with submissions to try and play the numbers card.

…Vickers said, and that was not a good enough.

“We live in a country with a plurality of religious beliefs and I think assisted dying legislation is the only way to respect that plurality.”

While a majority of submissions on voluntary euthanasia were from those opposed, Vickers said that was not a representation of wider society. Rather, it showed the depth of feeling on the issue.

Vickers urged members of the committee to examine the evidence on assisted dying in some US states and in European countries. Oregon’s experience proved there was no “slippery slope”, he said.

“In most cases it is impossible to justify the status quo,” he said.

“Why do we prohibit assisted dying when we know, both from [Lecretia’s court case] and now illustrated by examples in some of the submissions you have received, that between 5-8 per cent of all recorded suicides are ill New Zealanders who might have lived longer had assisted dying laws been in place.

“Why do we accept that the laws as they are force people to suffer against their wishes, when we know that palliative care can not help all people in all cases.”

There is video at Lecretia Seales’ husband makes emotional appeal to MPs about voluntary euthanasia.

Stuff also reports in Matt Vickers calls on MPs to have open mind about euthanasia:

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14 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  24th August 2016

    The last bit about the 5-8% of suicides being ill people who might have lived longer is a weak argument, as it’s based upon speculation-who knows how long they might have lived ? It’s unknowable. I knew someone who had 12 months of life after she had been given three weeks. For others it’s the reverse. Nobody can predict these things with certainty.

    Emotion is not the best basis for legislation. Nor is one case. I don’t like the dismissal of the number of submissions from people who have strong religious beliefs as being ‘not good enough’; would they have been ‘not good enough’ if they had been pro rather than anti and from people with these beliefs ? Why is one side playing the numbers game and not the other ? The numbers showed that there were ? people who felt strongly enough to send submissions in. One could as logically dismiss the many pro submissions for the same reason; that they are playing the numbers game.

  2. Blazer

     /  24th August 2016

    quite right Kitty,I always remember the Dr who told his patient he had only 6 months to live….the patient said he was sorry,that he would not be able to pay his medical bill….so the Doc…gave him another…6 months!

  3. Gezza

     /  24th August 2016

    Stuff also reports in Matt Vickers: “calls on MPs to have open mind about euthanasia:”

    Sadly, too many of them seem to mistake having an open mind for having an empty head.

  4. patupaiarehe

     /  24th August 2016

    This may not be a popular opinion, but I believe that any adult of sound mind should have the right to end their life whenever they choose. Something similar to the law on abortions, where one has to see two different medical professionals before getting access to what they want/need.
    While this may sound foolish to some, it may just encourage folk who aren’t terminally ill, but want to ‘end it’, to talk to a counsellor about how they are feeling, and hopefully realise that maybe things aren’t so bad after all, and that there is hope for them. Or if not, make a tidy exit, rather than someone finding them hanging from a rafter, or in a pool of blood with slashed wrists. Coming upon a scene like that really disturbs those they leave behind, I know someone did, and it still haunts her ten years later.
    Also, those who are facing certain death from aggressive untreatable cancer (for example), will be able to make a dignified exit, free of pain.

    • Blazer

       /  24th August 2016

      who gets the…insurance?

      • Gezza

         /  24th August 2016

        Why? Do you want to?

        • Blazer

           /  24th August 2016

          you can be a real peanut at times Gerry.

          • Gezza

             /  24th August 2016

            Thank you Blaise. Let me please reciprocate your sentiments a 100-fold.

      • patupaiarehe

         /  24th August 2016

        A good point Blazer. I guess that would depend on the policy, but interestingly enough my life insurance would pay out to my wife, if I were to commit suicide now, but it wouldn’t for the first year.

        • Gezza

           /  24th August 2016

          That’s interesting patu. I think mine don’t pay out if it’s a suicide. Must check.

          • patupaiarehe

             /  24th August 2016

            I think the first year thing, is to stop someone who has a big mortgage & is in financial trouble, taking out a big policy & ‘doing it for the kids’. I heard somewhere that death by suicide in the states is ruled ‘accidental’ by coroners, for insurance purposes.

            • Gezza

               /  24th August 2016

              If Blaise’s point was a good one, what exactly was his point?

            • patupaiarehe

               /  24th August 2016

              It is something that individuals who are planning to ‘end it’ should consider.

          • Gezza

             /  24th August 2016

            Are you sure that’s what his point was? Because it was so pathetically articulated I can think of at least two others that he might’ve been attempting to get across, & there are possibly more. And you know I don’t like to question or criticise him for no good reason.