The numbers exist in Parliament to do something about assisted death in New Zealand…but for the cowardice of the politicians.
We saw David Cunliffe force Maryan Street to withdraw her euthanasia bill because he didn’t want it to become an election focus, and Iain Lees-Galloway has done bugger all to progress his bill.
John Key lacks the courage to touch it as well…meanwhile in the UK they are upping pressure on politicians to act.
Let’s make no bones about it – the private member’s Assisted Dying Bill to be debated by Parliament next month is of major social significance for our nation. In offering legal safeguards, it would have implications both for medical staff dealing with the terminally ill, and for people at the point of a painful death, who want their passing to be compassionately eased so that they can die with dignity.
For years, like many in the Church, I was totally against any change in the law, believing that it was a slippery slope with potentially drastic consequences.
I argued it was taking the issue of autonomy too far and would lead to a massive breakdown of trust between doctors and their patients.
So what has led me to change my mind so that today I am persuaded – as a Christian – that the time has come to find a way to give terminally ill people a degree of choice over their end-of-life treatment, and request the help of physicians to allow them to die in peace and dignity?
Last year, in seeking my pastoral advice, a lady highlighted to me the kind of situation that drives people to take that despairing visit to the Dignitas euthanasia clinic in Zurich. Joan (that is not her real name) wrote to me about her act of assisting a close friend to die. Her friend, Margaret, was a woman suffering unbearable agonies, incontinence and helplessness as a result of multiple sclerosis. She ended up unable to move a finger, and begged Joan to help her die. She was too ill to travel to Switzerland. Read more »