‘Murder’ never acceptable

LETTER

The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern is to be applauded for upholding the right of Parliament to make laws rather than abdicating that responsibility to the public in a referendum.

The issues surrounding euthanasia and in particular the ill-conceived and life-threatening End of Life Choice bill are still very poorly understood by a great many people.

The Prime Minister rightly disagrees with the Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, who is demanding that a binding referendum be held as a condition of continuing support from NZ First for this bill.

The Prime Minister was quoted in the media as saying, “My view is that a referendum isn’t required to ensure that the voice of New Zealanders has been heard and to reflect the will of Parliament and the people they represent.”

Euthanasia is about doctors killing their patients or assisting in their suicide. It is intrinsically evil — no referendum can legitimise that which is evil.

The prohibition against taking the life of another human being is the foundation of the law and medicine. It is always wrong to kill another innocent human being.

The approval of the community, even in a referendum, can never make murder acceptable.

Ken Orr, Christchurch

The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern is to be applauded for upholding the right of Parliament to make laws rather than abdicating that responsibility to the public in a referendum.

The issues surrounding euthanasia and in particular the ill-conceived and life-threatening End of Life Choice bill are still very poorly understood by a great many people.

The Prime Minister rightly disagrees with the Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, who is demanding that a binding referendum be held as a condition of continuing support from NZ First for this bill.

The Prime Minister was quoted in the media as saying, “My view is that a referendum isn’t required to ensure that the voice of New Zealanders has been heard and to reflect the will of Parliament and the people they represent.”

Euthanasia is about doctors killing their patients or assisting in their suicide. It is intrinsically evil — no referendum can legitimise that which is evil.

The prohibition against taking the life of another human being is the foundation of the law and medicine. It is always wrong to kill another innocent human being.

The approval of the community, even in a referendum, can never make murder acceptable.

Ken Orr, Christchurch

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Bess - 4 months ago
My sister died of liver and bowel cancer. It is disheartening to see a person suffer as she did. Another friend had stomach cancer and was vomiting up the lining of her stomach. Do you think this is fair? Where is the humanity in that? I put my animal pets down for less.

Graham Adams, Auckland - 4 months ago
Ken Orr's contempt for voters' intelligence and judgement was made clear last year in a press release: "The issue of euthanasia is simply too complex to be put to a public vote. Right to Life does not think this is a matter that should be decided by individuals within the community."
It added: "We also are concerned that should the result of the referendum support euthanasia, this will impose pressure on the conscience of those members of Parliament who are opposed to it, and who want to protect the community." Nothing more needs to be said about Mr Orr's disdain for the wishes of a consistent majority of New Zealanders - shown in polls over 20 years - for legalising some form of assisted dying.

Chris O'Brien - 4 months ago
My question concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide is this; we talk about safeguards. What are these safeguards protecting us against?

Judith Collie, Qld - 4 months ago
To say that euthanasia is murder is an opinion of someone who has never seen a loved one go through the final stages of cancer or any other painful disease. If someone chooses to say when their life should be ended and they are of sound mind, if not of sound body, that is their choice and no one should be able to stand in their way. God bless them and their choices.

Martin Hanson, Nelson - 4 months ago
Only a religious conservative could regard mercy as murder.

Chris O'Brien - 4 months ago
What Graham Adams completely fails to comprehend is that because of a one-sided and biased media saturation campaign in favour of euthanasia, the public do not understand either what euthanasia actually is, or the implications for decriminalising.

Chris O'Brien - 4 months ago
Interesting comment Martin Hanson, that "Only a religious conservative could regard mercy as murder.". Well for a start, if your comment was correct you'd have to say that the collective wisdom of over 95% of all countries in the world, the majority of which are not religiously conservative, happens to disagree with you. Why has Britain and indeed most of Europe firmly rejected euthanasia? Read the Remmelink report. Why do those working with the dying overwhelmingly reject euthanasia? Is it because they understand as you clearly seem not to, that hard cases make bad law, and that once we remove the prohibition of killing human beings for one "class" of person, that this is never enough. The prohibition on killing, once removed, will grow. It can never be contained. Once euthanasia becomes a right for one "class" of person it becomes a "human right". Human rights are universal. "Mercy", and I use that word with vast reservation, for a tiny number of persons will rapidly become mercilessness for the many upon many. If we don't shut the gate now, the camel will be in the tent, not just sticking its nose under it.

Phil Hunt, Picton - 4 months ago
I am in favour of not passing the bill.
Why?
The "rule of unintended consequences".
This may seem strange, but we have many Acts in New Zealand that have been passed as "knee-jerk" reactions to recent happenings.
The gun buy-back law is one such.
I am not, and never have been, a gun owner, and can see no reason to own an MSSA-type gun, but what is taking place at the moment will not stop another incident such as happened in Christchurch.
Law-abiding gun owners with proper security and checks - as has been the law here for many years - have never produced any problems, so why change it?
Because it looks like politicians are doing something.

Alida Van der Velde, Waikanae - 4 months ago
Kia Ora Mr O'Brien and Mr Orr, listen up:
My mother died forty years ago in the hospital in the Netherlands with the help of the hospital cancer doctor who gave her one injection to make her sleepy, and the next injection to help her to die very peacefully. I hadn't seen her smile for a very long time, until that day. She asked for assistance after she realised the bone cancer was soon going to attack her brain, which was and had always been her best part! My brother and I were there, and a few of my mother's friends.
Mr Orr and Mr O'Brien might know a lot about the End of Life Choice bill and its safeguards, but they have no understanding of what bone cancer does to people. The patient's vertebrae get attacked by the cancer, they collapse one after another - this is a very painful process and can't be remedied. Your femur gets invaded with bone cancer and it snaps like a brittle stick. Then you can't walk any more. When you try to manually move the wheelchair your radius and humerus break from the force that is required to move yourself from the bed to the bath room.
I am glad Mr Orr and Mr O'Brien have never had to experience this, and I wish them and their families good health and good luck. I also send you a touch of enlightenment, and a little understanding of other people's situation and predicaments. With that you too can make the world a more compassionate place.

Ann David, Waikanae - 4 months ago
To Chris O'Brien who asks: "My question concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide is this; we talk about safeguards. What are these safeguards protecting us against?"

The bill's safeguards are protecting us against everything that the status quo isn't protecting against.

As you know, patients currently have the right to switch off life support or to reject treatment designed to keep them alive. Currently, family can make these decisions for patients, too, and the patient has no say in the matter.

There are zilch official safeguards for these death-hastening decisions that amount to about 11,000 annually in NZ according to Tricia Malowney, a former women's disability advocate in Victoria and expert adviser on the Victorian VAD legislation.

Yes, I'm sure the doctor (one doctor) currently ensures there is mental competence to decide (i.e. patient or family member), that there is no coercion, that the situation is hopeless etc, but there are no official eligibility criteria, no specific process of two independent doctors, no requirement to report.

David Seymour's End of Life Choice bill will bring well overdue rigour into the process of death hastening which is currently unregulated in NZ. It will be a slide up the slippery slope of clandestine, unreported, unregulated death-hastening.

Do you want it otherwise?

Graham Adams - 4 months ago
Chris O'Brien, you may share Ken Orr's low opinion of the public's ability to think for themselves (eg "the public do not understand what euthanasia actually is, or the implications for decriminalising") but I do not. The vast majority of NZers have been able to see for many, many years that those dying in pain and distress deserve much better. Most people have a sense of fair play and compassion, which is very difficult to detect in your (and Right to Life's) condescending approach. You may find a "theocracy operating in our democracy" acceptable, but I do not.
My sister died 12 years ago, tied to a hospital bed, screaming in agony, as cancer ravaged her entire body. Her last words to me while she was still coherent were begging me to get her more pain relief, which the hospital couldn't provide.
I understand the "implications of decriminalising" to mean that many dying people in my sister's situation would not have to suffer so dreadfully.
It's odd that Christians focus on the death of Christ on the Cross as a form of torture but when ordinary people die painful, agonising deaths, it's just a "natural death". My sister was tortured to death by her own body. Only a deeply inhumane person wouldn't be willing to seek constructive ways to spare anyone - friend or foe - such a horrible end (and, as we know from Lecretia Seales' High Court case, palliative care often can't). Assisted dying is one way we can reduce the toll of human suffering at the end of life.

Martin Hanson - 4 months ago
In his recent statements Ken Orr has grasped at anything to justify his case against David Seymour's End Of Life Choice Bill. He evidently fails to realise is that only arguments that are internally consistent can be taken seriously.
For example, his recent press release (July 4) begins with the following statement in which he acknowledges the primacy of Parliament in passing legislation:
"Right to Life applauds the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern for her leadership in upholding the right of Parliament to make laws rather than abdicating that responsibility to the public in a referendum."
Yet in his June 28 letter to the Herald ("Parliament has let us down" he stated:
"Shame on Parliament in passing the life-threatening euthanasia bill. It has abandoned its commitment to legislate for the protection of the lives of every human being from conception to natural death and not to preside over our destruction.
It is not the role of Parliament to decide who shall live and who may be killed. This life-threatening bill, if passed, will destroy the medical profession."
In such mutually contradictory statements he has forfeited any right to be taken seriously.

Martin Hanson - 4 months ago
From 1908 to 1961 attempted suicide, or 'self murder' as the Catholic Church sees it, was punishable by two years hard labour. Ken Orr seems to find it difficult to accept that New Zealand is well on the way to freeing itself from the 'soft theocracy' that it has been in the past. It is no longer the case, as Ken seems to think, that Parliament is only doing its job when it is doing God's will, but is serving the interests of the people.

Ken Orr, Christchurch - 3 months ago
In response to Martin Hanson, there is nothing mutually contradictory in upholding the right of Parliament to legislate while at the same time challenging the decision of Parliament to pass the End of Life Choice bill at its second reading. Those who govern do so with the permission of the governed. Parliament is the highest court in the land and they have a serious duty to legislate for the common good. The total prohibition of the taking of innocent life is the foundation of the law and of medicine. Parliament has a duty to uphold this legislation which is imperative for the protection of all, especially the vulnerable in our community, the aged, the disabled and the seriously ill. We have a right and a duty to challenge Parliament when it misguidedly supports the EOLCB which undermines the common good. At the commencement of each sitting day the following prayer is said by the Speaker. "Almighty God, we give thanks for the blessings which have been bestowed on New Zealand. Laying aside all personal interests, we pray for guidance in our deliberations, that we may conduct the affairs of this House with wisdom and humility, for the public welfare and peace of New Zealand." This prayer is an acknowledgment by Parliament that it seeks to govern in accordance with the will of our Creator for the preservation of the happiness and lives of the community.

In response to Graham Adams. The right to life of the vulnerable in our community should not be subject to a referendum, the killing of the vulnerable does not become acceptable because it is supported by the majority in a referendum. There is considerable misunderstanding in the community about what choices are available to those seriously ill, in a terminal condition or are disabled. Parliament should do what they were elected to do and that is, legislate.

Ann David, Waikanae - 3 months ago
I read Ken Orr's comment of July 19 on exactly the same day as I read the following item in La Croix International: https://international.la-croix.com/news/missing-the-bus/10551

Written by theologian Fr Eric Hodgens, who serves as a senior priest in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, I see that his viewpoint is almost diametrically opposed to that of Mr Orr on the matter of assisted dying. Fr Hodgens accepts its (sad) necessity, as do many mainstream Catholics.

He explains that the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) was supposed to regenerate the Catholic church into a gentler form of itself - humanist and understanding instead of dictatorial and driven by dogma. But that didn't happen. Instead, the Vatican was seized upon by "Restorationists" who doubled down even more severely on the laity and drove even more adherents away from the church as a consequence. The Catholic church is in "freefall", he says. It has become irrelevant to the lives of people.

I now recognise Mr Orr as one of the Restorationist school - dogma first, humanity last. Mr Orr, I don't believe you are doing your faith any favours.

Martin Hanson, Nelson - 3 months ago
With "dogma first, humanity last", Ann David puts in a nutshell the reason why the Catholic church has been in an increasingly rapid death spiral and is now circling the drain, aided and abetted by Ken Orr and almost the entire Catholic priesthood and hierarchy. Fr Eric Hodgens is one of the few Catholics who recognises this. The recent blockbuster book, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, by Frederic Martel does much to expose this reality.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you like the new committee structure brought in at Gisborne District Council?

    See also: Committee shake-up