Media Release 12 December 2017
Family First NZ is calling on politicians to reject ACT MP David Seymour’s private members bill to legalise euthanasia. The recent parliamentary inquiry sounded a clear warning that changing the law on assisted suicide could be seen as normalising suicide, and an overwhelming 77% of the 21,000+ submitters – in an extensive and lengthy inquiry – have rejected calls for euthanasia.
“It is time for New Zealand and David Seymour to move on from the current political push for assisted suicide, and 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,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Safe euthanasia is a myth. Euthanasia will remove the ‘choice’ of many vulnerable people, and fails the public safety test. 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, the disabled and elderly people if NZ follows the path of promoting – and allowing – assisted suicide.”
The government report released in August shared this concern, saying:
“Many submitters were concerned that if assisted dying was legalized, people would see death as an acceptable response to suffering. It would be difficult to say that some situations warranted ending one’s life while others do not. These submitters were concerned that while terminal illnesses would initially be the only scenario in which ending one’s life would be considered acceptable, this would quickly widen to include any degree of physical pain, then to include mental pain, and then in response to many other situations that arise throughout life… Several submitters suggested that, during their worst periods of depression, they would have opted for euthanasia had it been available in New Zealand.”
Advocates of assisted suicide tried to suggest that suicide can be categorised as either “rational” or “irrational”. But the government report also said:
“This distinction was not supported by any submitters working in the field of suicide prevention or grief counselling. On the contrary, we heard from youth counsellors and youth suicide prevention organisations that suicide is always undertaken in response to some form of suffering, whether that is physical, emotional, or mental.”
Family First will be mounting a rigorous campaign against the bill, should it make it past its 1st Reading.