Stating religious underpinnings is admirable

LETTER

Unlike other organisations opposed to assisted dying, Right to Life doesn’t hide behind a pseudo-secular shield, and to that extent its sincerity is worthy of respect. That said, Ken Orr seems unable to grasp the fact that the vast majority of New Zealanders don’t share his view that life is created by God, and that only God has the right to determine the moment of death.

There’s a simple test to determine if Mr Orr seriously believes this. The “mission statement” of modern medicine is to extend life in the face of disease and other threats, so to be consistent, he should be campaigning against medical intervention in God’s plan. It is hardly necessary to ask if Mr Orr or any of his Catholic friends has ever been to the doctor.

Now to the Fifth Commandment. I wonder what Mr Orr’s stance is on New Zealand forces in Afghanistan, given that a central role of the military is killing? Again, I suspect that the absolutist view he expresses would have to accommodate exceptions.

The question of suicide in young people is so distressing that, seemingly, Mr Orr doesn’t seem to be able to resist the temptation to exploit it — despite the obvious fact it has no relation whatever to assisted dying. In youth suicide there is at least the possibility of light at the end of the tunnel and a long life thereafter. In assisted dying, death is usually inevitable in the near future and it is a matter of hastening it to avoid unnecessary suffering.

Mr Orr asserts, without evidence, that “if the right to die with assisted suicide became a right it would ultimately become a duty to die”. The available evidence does not support this. Switzerland has permitted assisted dying for over 70 years, but as the Reverend Paul Badham, Emeritus Professor of Theology at Trinity St David University argues in the book “I’ll See Myself Out, Thank You”, the Swiss live on average two-and-a-half years longer than the British.

Martin Hanson, Nelson

Unlike other organisations opposed to assisted dying, Right to Life doesn’t hide behind a pseudo-secular shield, and to that extent its sincerity is worthy of respect. That said, Ken Orr seems unable to grasp the fact that the vast majority of New Zealanders don’t share his view that life is created by God, and that only God has the right to determine the moment of death.

There’s a simple test to determine if Mr Orr seriously believes this. The “mission statement” of modern medicine is to extend life in the face of disease and other threats, so to be consistent, he should be campaigning against medical intervention in God’s plan. It is hardly necessary to ask if Mr Orr or any of his Catholic friends has ever been to the doctor.

Now to the Fifth Commandment. I wonder what Mr Orr’s stance is on New Zealand forces in Afghanistan, given that a central role of the military is killing? Again, I suspect that the absolutist view he expresses would have to accommodate exceptions.

The question of suicide in young people is so distressing that, seemingly, Mr Orr doesn’t seem to be able to resist the temptation to exploit it — despite the obvious fact it has no relation whatever to assisted dying. In youth suicide there is at least the possibility of light at the end of the tunnel and a long life thereafter. In assisted dying, death is usually inevitable in the near future and it is a matter of hastening it to avoid unnecessary suffering.

Mr Orr asserts, without evidence, that “if the right to die with assisted suicide became a right it would ultimately become a duty to die”. The available evidence does not support this. Switzerland has permitted assisted dying for over 70 years, but as the Reverend Paul Badham, Emeritus Professor of Theology at Trinity St David University argues in the book “I’ll See Myself Out, Thank You”, the Swiss live on average two-and-a-half years longer than the British.

Martin Hanson, Nelson

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Janice Nihoniho, Nelson - 9 months ago
Let's concentrate on the bill. Because "choice" is promoted as a human right, the widening of criteria is inevitable. The Canadian Paediatric Society is disturbed by pressure from parents to end the lives of their living disabled children since the advent of euthanasia. All the subjective, emotive words in the bill are meaningless because "suffering which cannot be relieved in a manner that he or she considers tolerable" means there doesn't have to be pain. While some could be lonely, fearful and sad, others might only want control over the timing of their death. The bill aims to set up a group of "independent" yet willing "practitioners" to operate the death mechanism, like self-appointed foxes checking deaths in the henhouse. Doctors with conscientious objection are expected to refer people to someone willing to kill them. The bill's language is squeamish around death certificates. Death by lethal means is unnatural so the bill proposes recording an illness or disease instead. Fabian Stahle, of Sweden, has exposed the flawed Oregon law. Civilised communities can only function effectively in New Zealand by retaining Section 179 of the Crimes Act.

Martin Hanson - 9 months ago
I notice that Ms Nihoniho doesn't answer any of the points I made.

Janice Nihoniho - 8 months ago
In reply to Mr Hanson, we can debate the Seymour bill without the pejoratives of Indian politics. Sir William Liley, pro-life pioneer, was an atheist; people with different world views promote life.
Truths unchanged for centuries are not negated by the alleged higher authority of numbers.
The medical intervention opposed is changing the NZ Crimes Act to allow doctors to kill patients with immunity from prosecution as long as they act in "good faith," or provide them with poison to take their life themselves.
No one is exploiting the tragedy of youth suicide. Notoassistedsuicide claim "If this bill would become law, an 18-year-old could receive a diagnoses of a chronic or mental illness that may not even be correct, request a lethal injection that same appointment, be dead that same week, without telling any loved ones about their diagnosis or desire to die. If they were also depressed or suicidal they would still qualify."
Vulnerable, dependent, frail seniors don't want to burden others. Elder abuse is subtle and difficult to detect; people will be persuaded they have a duty to die rather than deplete health resources.
It is illegal to help someone to die from selfish motives in Switzerland. Somehow lucrative exit and dignatas charges don't count as selfish motivation. Average life expectancy is dependent on many variables. Two unrelated facts don't justify an assumption.
To simultaneously give anyone power to take life and immunity from prosecution invites abuse of that power. A new option lingers on the fringe of every end-of-life decision. A death-dealing drug is cheaper and easier than truly compassionate palliative care for all. (Canada has already costed the "savings".)
This bill is a totalitarian wolf in sheep's clothing. Please reject it.
















Martin Hanson - 8 months ago
For a rational, evidence-based presentation of the arguments in favour of the Seymour bill, I strongly recommend the following two-part radio broadcast on Coast Access Radio, in which arguments for the bill are presented by Ann David. Arguments against are presented by Professor Peter Thirkell. The web reference is
http://coastaccessradio.org.nz

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