Family First Media Release 2 Nov 2016
Family First New Zealand – one of the lead family organisations against assisted suicide and euthanasia – has presented their oral submission today to the Select Committee conducting the Investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand as a result of Maryan Street’s petition.
In their oral submission, National Director Bob McCoskrie has warned MPs that the Inquiry presents a serious risk to public health and safety because there is a ‘social contagion’ aspect to suicide – assisted or non-assisted – and that we need more discussion about suicide prevention
“You don’t discourage suicide by assisting suicide,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Suicide is already a public health crisis.”
• This Inquiry presents a serious risk to public health and safety
• You don’t discourage suicide by assisting suicide
• Suicide is already a public health crisis
• There is a ‘social contagion’ aspect to suicide – assisted or non-assisted
• We need more discussion about suicide prevention
• The discussion needs to move on to focus on what New Zealanders really need and want: a focus on providing the very best palliative care and support for vulnerable people
“Just a fortnight ago, Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall referred to NZ’s unacceptable and stubbornly high suicide rate and said that there needs to be more discussion, but discussion about suicide prevention. In complete contrast, this inquiry was initiated and is being driven by those who desire to promote assisted suicide.”
Family First is also warning that guidelines around the media reporting of suicides are being widely ignored in the reporting of recent instances of assisted suicide, with the subject’s decision to end his or her life frequently presented in the media as inspiring and even heroic, and the means of committing suicide being clearly spelt out.
“Promotion of assisted suicide is a message that will be heard not just by those with a terminal illness but also by anyone tempted to think he or she can no longer cope with their suffering – whatever the nature of that suffering. This is the real risk to young and to vulnerable people and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide.”
Family First also says that a close examination of the suicide and attempted suicide rates during the years that previous bills promoting assisted suicide have been introduced and debated shows that for each occasion, there is a slight ‘peak’, going against the overall trend, and that it cannot be ruled out that the risk is directly related to the increased publicity given to the idea of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
“This discussion needs to move on to focus on what New Zealanders really need and want – a focus on providing the very best palliative care and support for vulnerable people, whether they are at the end of their life, or momentarily wishing they were at the end of their life.”