Defence of life drives Right to Life

COLUMN

It is important for the community that we engage in a civil debate on the important social, legal and moral issues concerning the proposal to pass the contentious End of Life Choice bill of David Seymour, which would amend the Crimes Act to allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide.

We all have a duty to defend life and Right to Life makes no apology for defending the right to life of our most vulnerable, our precious unborn, the aged, the disabled and the seriously ill.

Seeking to discredit Right to Life, Martin Hanson claims that RTL is a Catholic organisation driven by dogma. This is incorrect, RTL is a secular, registered, incorporated society. It is not a requirement of our society that members belong to the Catholic Church or indeed to any Church.

He also claims incorrectly that Parliament is the supreme authority. God is the supreme authority and this is recognised by the Parliamentary Speaker commencing every sitting day with a prayer to Almighty God dedicating Parliament to the good of society and the glory of God.

Right to Life deplores child abuse. It is deeply offensive to us for him to seek to discredit our society by suggesting that we condone child abuse. This is false and mischievous.

His attack on the Catholic Church and its clergy is deeply offensive to members of the Catholic Church in our community.

Mr Hanson disputes that our human rights are conferred on us by our Creator at conception. The United States Declaration of Independence correctly recognises that it is our Creator who has bestowed on us our human rights, it starts as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

To challenge God’s authority to endow us with human rights is to place man in mortal danger, as then defining and accepting human rights become the prerogative of the state.

He also claims that Parliament has no responsibility to uphold the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The New Zealand government is a signatory to the convention and as such has a serious moral obligation to uphold Article 3: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

Mr Hanson says a person suffering from a terminal illness has a right to have a doctor assist him in suicide, or self-murder. The European Court of Human Rights in a decision in 2011 stated that the state has no obligation to provide citizens with the means to commit suicide. There is no right to suicide or to assisted suicide under the convention, and no positive obligation to provide such. The legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide does not provide individual rights but it gives doctors, or others, the right in law to cause your death.

The prohibition to kill another human being is the foundation of the law and medicine. These prohibitions are there for our protection.

Laws that prohibit assisted suicide actually protect people with terminal illness, people with depression, people with disabilities, the elderly and others. When assisted suicide, the cheaper option, becomes legal in our profit-driven healthcare system, it costs patients the freedom to choose more expensive life-saving treatments and, ultimately, may cost them their lives.

There is no need for euthanasia. We should celebrate our world-class palliative care service, which provides compassionate, professional care with pain control — allowing patients to die with dignity.

It is important for the community that we engage in a civil debate on the important social, legal and moral issues concerning the proposal to pass the contentious End of Life Choice bill of David Seymour, which would amend the Crimes Act to allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide.

We all have a duty to defend life and Right to Life makes no apology for defending the right to life of our most vulnerable, our precious unborn, the aged, the disabled and the seriously ill.

Seeking to discredit Right to Life, Martin Hanson claims that RTL is a Catholic organisation driven by dogma. This is incorrect, RTL is a secular, registered, incorporated society. It is not a requirement of our society that members belong to the Catholic Church or indeed to any Church.

He also claims incorrectly that Parliament is the supreme authority. God is the supreme authority and this is recognised by the Parliamentary Speaker commencing every sitting day with a prayer to Almighty God dedicating Parliament to the good of society and the glory of God.

Right to Life deplores child abuse. It is deeply offensive to us for him to seek to discredit our society by suggesting that we condone child abuse. This is false and mischievous.

His attack on the Catholic Church and its clergy is deeply offensive to members of the Catholic Church in our community.

Mr Hanson disputes that our human rights are conferred on us by our Creator at conception. The United States Declaration of Independence correctly recognises that it is our Creator who has bestowed on us our human rights, it starts as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

To challenge God’s authority to endow us with human rights is to place man in mortal danger, as then defining and accepting human rights become the prerogative of the state.

He also claims that Parliament has no responsibility to uphold the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The New Zealand government is a signatory to the convention and as such has a serious moral obligation to uphold Article 3: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

Mr Hanson says a person suffering from a terminal illness has a right to have a doctor assist him in suicide, or self-murder. The European Court of Human Rights in a decision in 2011 stated that the state has no obligation to provide citizens with the means to commit suicide. There is no right to suicide or to assisted suicide under the convention, and no positive obligation to provide such. The legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide does not provide individual rights but it gives doctors, or others, the right in law to cause your death.

The prohibition to kill another human being is the foundation of the law and medicine. These prohibitions are there for our protection.

Laws that prohibit assisted suicide actually protect people with terminal illness, people with depression, people with disabilities, the elderly and others. When assisted suicide, the cheaper option, becomes legal in our profit-driven healthcare system, it costs patients the freedom to choose more expensive life-saving treatments and, ultimately, may cost them their lives.

There is no need for euthanasia. We should celebrate our world-class palliative care service, which provides compassionate, professional care with pain control — allowing patients to die with dignity.

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Ann David - 3 days ago
I think the problem lies in the fact that not all of us agree that God is the supreme authority, Mr Orr. You state that as a fact. For many of us, including me, it isn't.

Your arguments against assisted dying are always laced with religious references - that is why Mr Hanson makes the association.

You quoted: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Not all of us agree that our Creator endowed us with these rights: many of think it is up to us to secure our human rights and we try very hard to do that by promoting secular democracy among other things.

However, since you admire the wording of the US Declaration, did you notice that the "Pursuit of Happiness" featured among the unalienable rights? Happiness in my case would include a peaceful death, not a tortured one.

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