Media Release 14 Feb 2014
Family First NZ says that the passing of the child euthanasia law in Belgium sends a clear warning of just where these laws will end up, and NZ should reject any attempts by politicians to decriminalise euthanasia.
“International evidence shows that deaths by assisted suicide and euthanasia have been increasing wherever the practices have been legalised, and that the door is opened to a world of abuse. There is a slippery slope, and the Belgium decision shows just how slippery that slope is,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“And that slippery slope will quickly impact NZ. Labour MP Maryann Street, who intends to reintroduce her bill to decriminalise euthanasia after the general election, was recently quoted as saying: Application for children with a terminal illness was a bridge too far in my view at this time. That might be something that may happen in the future, but not now. This means that she isn’t ready to propose euthanasia for children with disabilities just yet, but that will soon change.”
“The euthanasia lobby always claims that it’s about the issue of choice, but the international evidence and experience prove otherwise. Now the coercion is aimed at children, and at the parents during a very difficult time. A Belgium Senator even admitted that during the debate, euthanasia supporters talked about children with anorexia, mental illnesses, and children who were tired of life.”
“Belgium has the same so-called safeguards in their law as Marian Street is proposing. Nonetheless, a 2010 study found 32% of euthanasia cases were carried out without request or consent. In fact, last month Dr Mark Cosyns, a leading euthanasia doctor, admitted to not reporting the many euthanasia deaths that he has done.”
“Belgium is unable to control or prevent the abuse of the existing law. Now they have expanded it to impact children.”
“It will also send a dangerous message to young people about suicide and the value of life. Maintaining the current laws protects all New Zealanders equally,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Legalising assisted suicide is a recipe for abuse. So-called ‘safeguards’ are an illusion because they are unable to prevent the potential for coercion and abuse, potentially resulting in a ‘duty to die’.”
“We should create a palliative care regime in New Zealand that is world class – not remove the protection for vulnerable people including children, and giving doctors the right to kill their patients.”