Euthanasia a ‘dangerous’ topic to be discussing, Family First tells MPs

Stuff co.nz 2 November 2016
Suicide is an “objectionable and dangerous idea”, says Family First; one that Parliament’s Health Select Committee should not be entertaining.

Spokesman Bob McCoskrie was speaking to MPs leading a parliamentary inquiry into euthanasia, which has garnered a record 21,000 public submissions.

The committee was working through those submissions – 1800 of which requested to be heard in person.

But during his own, McCoskrie questioned the impacts of holding such an inquiry on New Zealand’s “stubbornly high” rates of suicide.

Refusing to use the term euthanasia – used to refer to death usually in circumstances of terminal illness or insufferable and incurable pain – McCoskrie drew no separation between euthanasia and suicide due to mental illness.

He cited the case of a Wellington woman who ended her life with nembutal, after receiving information on how to import the Class C drug.

It was revealed last week, that the controversial police investigation into a euthanasia group followed the death of Annemarie Treadwell – a Wellington woman who supported Maryan Street’s petition in support of assisted dying.

It was Street’s petition, following the death of right-to-die campaigner Lecretia Seales, that prompted the parliamentary inquiry.

Treadwell died on June 6 in Wellington, aged 77.

In her own submission to the parliamentary inquiry earlier in the year, she said she had suffered chronic pain due to arthritis for more than 30 years, she lived with depression and was having short-term memory problems.

McCoskrie said she was an example of how wider discussion on euthanasia could prompt a “contagion”.

“She was a life member of Exit and was suffering from depression, but was physically fit and not suffering a terminal illness,” he said.

Just over a fortnight ago, Chief Coroner Deborah Marshall released New Zealand’s yearly suicide statistics, which saw an overall increase in cases of suicide – record 564 people in the year to July 30.

“We’re having more discussion here, which is a good thing. But Judge Marshall said we needed more discussion about suicide prevention.

“In complete contrast, this inquiry was initiated and has been driven by a desire to promote assisted suicide.

“You don’t discourage suicide, by assisting suicide,” McCoskrie said.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/85996011/euthanasia-a-dangerous-topic-to-be-discussing-family-first-tells-mps

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