Wednesday, March 04, 2015

If you believe in end- of- life choice, do something about it

This debate is going to get messy when people don't tell the truth.

Just recently TV3 reported:

Nearly half of Kiwi doctors are in favour of euthanasia, or physician-assisted dying (PAD), according to a survey covered in the New Zealand Medical Journal today.

Yesterday, a report appeared on Stuff which contained the following statement:

Feedback from NZMA members on the issue showed universal opposition to voluntary euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

If you favour voluntary euthanasia, and this kind of politicking frustrates you,  there is now something you can do about it.

Petition launched Thursday, 19 February 2015, 12:03 pm

Press Release: Voluntary Euthanasia Society Press Release from the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of NZ

The Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand has launched a petition urging Parliament to debate a law change that would allow doctors to help terminally ill patients end their suffering. “Unfortunately, even with over 80 per cent of New Zealanders wanting legalisation, politicians still sit on their hands, agonising and arguing about much less important issues,” VESNZ President Dr Jack Havill, of Hamilton, said in a statement today (Thursday).

Dr Havill, a retired intensive care specialist, said: “The petition will give New Zealanders a chance to get the issues discussed before a select committee. The case is excellent and the public want an honest and informed discussion."

The petition was formally launched on the eve of Friday’s arrival of one of the world’s leading experts on voluntary euthanasia, Dutchman Dr Rob Jonquière, for a nationwide 19-day speaking tour. Dr Jonquière, who helped draft the pioneering Dutch euthanasia legislation, is Communications Director of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, which comprises 49 organisations committed to allowing people to make choices for a dignified death in 24 countries. He has been invited by VESNZ, which campaigns under the title End-of-Life Choice.

The petition reads: “The undersigned respectfully request that the New Zealand House of Representatives investigate fully the public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable."

Former Labour MP Maryan Street, who proposed a private member’s Bill for a law change in the last Parliament, said: “We want MPs to see that there is a great deal of public support for this bill. It is a compassionate and closely prescribed bill, applying only to New Zealand residents aged 18 or over who have terminal illnesses or conditions which make their lives, by their own definition, unbearable. “We would like the petition to be heard by the Health select committee. It could prepare the way for an MP to put the End-of-Life Choice Bill back in the ballot. At the very least, it would present MPs with the opportunity to hear from a range of people about this important and enduring issue."

 This is where you need to go to  download the petition form to sign and/or collect other signatures. I'll be doing both.


Mark Hubbard said...

Excellent. Yes, certainly sign up to the petition. (I'll link this to my last post as soon as I have time - which may be tomorrow.)

Mark Hubbard said...

One more thing, leveraging off your greater readership :), my reply from comments regarding that contradiction:

I've got two blog posts on my correspondence with the chair of NZMA (summary here ).

NZMA have never polled their members on this issue: 'feedback' is not polling, and likely skewed to those against. When the UK MA polled its membership they overwhelmingly voted that the issue was for society to decide not them.

Again, 'feedback' is likely to get responses only from those doctors against, just as any abortion debate always brings out the religious naysayers. I can only say anecdotally, but I'm sure more than half our doctors would be broadly for assisted dying, if for no other reason than it puts such deaths ethically above board for the first time, because they do happen now, ironically, NZMA's muddled - and therefore negligent - position actually encourages it by stating it is okay to administer pain relief up to a point that may bring death closer - see my above link. Of course the pity is not everyone reacts well to current methods of pain relief; morphine certainly doesn't work for everyone, and we're such a kindy of a country, there is no recourse to medicinal cannabis which would be a real boon for pain relief regimes.