Poll: most support euthanasia

Parliament is considering passing a euthanasia law that would allow terminally ill patients to choose to die, with the help and approval of their doctors. Do you support it?

  • Yes 71%
  • No 19.5%
  • Don’t know 9.5%

So three and a half times as many people support euthanasia as oppose it.

Newshub: Most New Zealanders support euthanasia

The vast majority of New Zealanders support euthanasia, according to the latest Newshub Reid Research poll.

A Bill to legalise assisted dying is currently before Parliament and it has 71 percent of the country’s support, with 19.5 percent against it and 9.5 percent unsure.

Written by ACT MP David Seymour, the End of Life Choices Bill seeks to give adults suffering a terminal illness or a grievous or incurable medical condition the option of medically assisted death.

The Bill passed its first reading in December through a conscience vote – 76 MPs voted in favour and 44 voted against.

The Bill argues some people are suffering unbearably at the end of their lives, and allows adults suffering from a terminal or irremediable illness to ask for a medically assisted death.

It’s currently being examined by Parliament’s Justice Select Committee, which is due to report back to the House in September.

Under the End of Life Choice Bill, a person wishing to end their own life must meet all of the following criteria:

  • be 18 or older
  • suffer from a terminal or grievous and irremediable illness
  • or be in an advanced state of irreversible decline
  • be in unbearable pain that can’t be helped by medication
  • be of sound mind to give consent

If those criteria are met, the applicant must be assessed by two doctors.

A dying person has no responsibility to extend their life in order to allow visitors to see them suffering and losing their dignity.

In the whole scheme of things, someone dying a few days or a few weeks earlier than they otherwise might is not a big deal.

People’s lives are commonly and frequently extended beyond when they would naturally end due to the intervention of drugs, technology and doctors. It is likely that most people who chose to end their lives slightly earlier would, in an earlier age (not that much earlier) have not lived as long as they did anyway.

It is common for people’s lives to end sooner than modern medicine would force them to live. ‘Do not resuscitate’ is one choice already available.

My father’s life was extended a number of times. He had two operations, and he had six or seven blood transfusions in the last few years of his life that kept him alive. And then his end was hastened with morphine.

My mother was allowed by doctors to starve herself to death. She could have been force fed or put on a drip, but fortunately she wasn’t. It was still awful to see her suffering in her last week.

A legal choice to end ones own life a bit sooner than might otherwise occur, with adequate checks and balances, seems like a no brainer to me, and it seems that most other people agree. We should have the right to choose a slightly sooner death if that’s what we want.

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22 Comments

  1. PartisanZ

     /  February 4, 2018

    David Seymour – “Our MPs – currently considering my End of Life Choice Bill – need to keep up with public opinion.”

    After the Medical Cannabis “public opinion” debacle? Yeah, Right!

    In our ghastly political reality there’s only one thing that might make a big enough difference: Liberals and progressives – what people loosely and incorrectly call ‘The Left’ – need to mobilize like the Secular-Christian Conservatives do … make submissions … bomb newspapers and blogs with letters and comments … inundate MPs with emails, letters, facebook messages and twits …

    The ‘Left’ needs to play the Right game …

    • Gezza

       /  February 4, 2018

      I think you’re correct PZ. The problem is getting them to cooperate to do so is probably like herding cats. They’re still locked in to the idea that protest marches & blocking venue doorways & shouting abuse at pollies is the way to get their message through to politicians, & frankly I think the days of those being effective are gone. Those tactic often now have the reverse effect.

      • PartisanZ

         /  February 4, 2018

        Yes Gezza, and the problem with “like herding cats” is it’s precisely how it should be …

        Precisely how it should be with human beings, independent pyschi-spiritual-biological beings … WE – if you like – should NOT have to play THEIR game …

        The decent humanitarian people of this nation have spoken clearly in more than one reputable research poll … 74% and now 71% in favour …

        But no, we MUST go on fighting a non-representative ‘mobilized’ conservative lobby … Symbolically, the Secular-Christian Conservative political totalitarians and fascists of this fucked-up system … The very same people who preach[ed] complete economic ‘freedom’ under the guise of reform, deregulation and ‘free markets’ …

  2. 2Tru

     /  February 4, 2018

    I have a concern that the 4th bullet point “be in unbearable pain that can’t be helped by medication” would be a problem even if the bill becomes law (which I am not at all confident about, especially after the medicinal cannabis farce). Isn’t there an argument that there is likely to be some medication that can help unbearable pain (perhaps medicinal cannabis)? The question is to what degree of help is acceptable.

    • A problem I have seen first with pain management in palliative care (hospice) is that it is always reactive – they administer more pain killers when the dying person shows that they are in more pain. They give them just enough morphine to relieve the last pain experienced, and it becomes a repeat cycle – pain, painkiller, pain, painkiller – because they don’t want to give them ‘too much’ morphine.

      This sort of management helps, but it doesn’t prevent repeated suffering from pain.

      • 2Tru

         /  February 4, 2018

        Pete, I have just been through surgery for a very bad ankle break. The pain was intense and my threshhold is low (or so my wife keeps telling everyone). The nursing attitude was to keep on top of the pain with morphine rather than waiting for it to breakthrough. It generally worked. Why isn’t the same approach used in hospice care?

        • PartisanZ

           /  February 4, 2018

          Maybe when you’re suffering, losing your dignity, progressing through “irreversible decline” and dying, not all of your pain is entirely physical?

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  February 4, 2018

          I remember realising after a hit and run in which I had some nasty injuries that I was almost welcoming the onset of pain so that I could have the morphine.

          Be thankful if you do have a low pain threshold, 2. I know a man with a very high one, and he has often had injuries whose severity he doesn’t realise.

          Ankle breaks are AGONY-out of all proportion. I have had several variations on this theme. The last time was when I dropped a heavyish china bowl (an old Crown Lynn damn it) on my ankle and it hit so hard that the bowl broke and so did a bone. I was standing by a chair and hung onto it swearing while the room spun around and round. The pain was excruciating-nauseating. My sympathy to you with yours..

          I imagine that hospices do pump up the pain relief, there’d be no point in not.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 4, 2018

            The bowl was mended, and the mend can be seen. It was at the time of the Christchurch earthquake, and was and is a little reminder that these little things are extremely unimportant. I keep it because I like it and to remind me of this- a good object lesson.

          • 2Tru

             /  February 4, 2018

            I’ve always avoided painkillers, even paracetamol. This time I didn’t need to be asked twice about tramadol. But I know what you mean about becoming reliant on it, so I decided as soon as I could that I didn’t need it. However in an end of life situation I can easily imagine accepting all the morphine offered.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 4, 2018

              Oh, so would I. I didn’t have withdrawal, thank goodness, my dosages can’t have been enough for that, but I did enjoy my morphine fixes. I knew someone who had real problems after she stopped having Pethidine and someone else was astonished that coming off Codeine made him quite ill.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 4, 2018

              Not all cancer causes pain, of course, it’s such a vile disease that it doesn’t have the decency to announce its presence in that way and make people go to the doctor in time.. My husband didn’t have it.

              The Mayo Clinic website says that the pain can be alleviated.

              I cannot praise Hospice highly enough. I have said before that they treat every patient as if they were the only one there and a dear friend. Someone bakes the yummiest biscuits for the Hamilton one-real comfort food-I don’t usually eat biscuits, but I did those. How clever to know just what people need at that awful time.

              My mother left Hospice a large legacy-$50,000 or perhaps more-and I don’t grudge them it. But I never imagined that I’d be needing them.

  3. oldlaker

     /  February 4, 2018

    The Catholic church has arranged help desks today (Sunday) for people to write submissions in the churches’ foyers after Mass. They have supplied a range of possible arguments, none of which mention god or religion (deliberately). This is the way the church swamped the submissions process for last year’s health select committee under Simon O’Connor. Yet religious MPs like O’Connor don’t want assisted dying to go to a referendum because they know they would lose heavily.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 4, 2018

      Or because it’s against their religious beliefs ? God is a proper name in this context, by the way.

      • oldlaker

         /  February 4, 2018

        If it’s against their religious belief, why don’t they say so? Religious people never use religious arguments to argue against assisted dying in public because they know most people will be repulsed by them trying to force their religious beliefs on others. Bill English, Maggie Barry and Simon O’Connor all spoke against David Seymour’s bill in Parliament but not one mentioned their Catholic beliefs as the foundation for their views. When I was growing up in a religious household we would have called that “denying Christ”. Whatever happened to “witnessing for Christ”?… Maybe the fact he came to Earth to give his life effectively as a suicide to ease the burden of sin for others cuts against their religious arguments a little about the sanctity of life and suicide being a mortal sin?

    • PartisanZ

       /  February 4, 2018

      Yes, when the established Judeo-Christian Churches relinquish their ‘monopoly’ on death and eternal life their hold and control of humanity is in big trouble. They will fight tooth-and-nail to retain this primal source of ‘power’ over humankind.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 4, 2018

        I wouldn’t see the Crucifixion as ‘suicide’, except in the most literal sense; suicide is Latin for killing oneself (and how I do hate it when ignorant people use it as a verb-it’s like saying homiciding)

        Simply mentioning one’s own beliefs can hardly be seen as forcing these on others-that is a very odd way of looking at it. A statement of one’s own beliefs is just that. If I told you that I love Victorian literature, am I trying to make you read it ? If you tell me that you are a great fan of Chinese food and eat it all the time, I wouldn’t think that you were trying to make me do the same.

        If someone gives their own life to save others, as has happened throughout history, is that suicide and sinful ?

        As about half of NZ claims to have some Christian belief. it’s hard to see how most people would be repelled by hearing someone else’s beliefs.

        Partizan’s statement is so vague and generalising that it is saying nothing, really.

        • Gezza

           /  February 4, 2018

          “If someone gives their own life to save others, as has happened throughout history, is that suicide and sinful ?”

          Depends what you think sin is – but the story’s mostly myth of course, & I don’t think the apostles were in any danger that he saved them from.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 4, 2018

            The story isn’t about the apostles.

          • Gezza

             /  February 4, 2018

            If it wasn’t for the apostles there wouldn’t be a story.

  4. oldlaker

     /  February 4, 2018

    Kitty, if your religion forbade you to eat Chinese food but you decided you would campaign against anyone else eating it, that would be a case of forcing your religious beliefs on others. The Catholics do just that with assisted dying. They believe life is a gift from god which only god can regulate, from its beginning to its end (ie from conception to a natural death). That is the basis for their opposition to assisted dying and for that reason by not allowing others to access it, they are forcing their religious belief on others.

  1. Poll: most support euthanasia — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition