Canada now has assisted suicide for those with the most need. Why not in NZ?

Canadians now have access to voluntary euthanasia.

Voluntary euthanasia hit headlines in New Zealand last year and the case divided public opinion. Parliament launched an inquiry into legislation and so far more than 20,000 submissions have been received.

The Canadian senate gave its approval to a bill that could bring into law euthanasia on Friday (local time). It outlines under what circumstance Canadians can be legally assisted to kill themselves and only needs royal accent to become law.

So could New Zealand follow suit?

Pro-euthanasia campaigner Andrew Denton told The Nation desperate people with terminal illness and chronic pain are being forced to commit suicide because they have no alternative.

“I’ll give you a sense of what that suffering is like. It involves incredible physical pain; it involves incredible emotional pain — what’s called existential pain.

“In your county and in mine [Australia], elderly people are [committing suicide] in desperate ways, with terminal and chronic illnesses, because they have no alternative.”

He supports palliative care but thinks it isn’t enough and choice should be available to those who are desperate.

“Ultimately, the level of pain and suffering — because that’s the key word — it’s not just physical pain — gets to a point where palliative carers themselves only have two ways of dealing with it, which is to terminally sedate a patient, put them into a coma and look after them until they die or allow them to refuse treatment.

But there are already selfish pricks lining up to try to stop the debate.

A member’s bill to make voluntary euthanasia legal was submitted by ACT leader David Seymour late last year, but the Voluntary Euthanasia Society doesn’t want to wait for it to be drawn before political debate on the issue starts.

It says a petition calling for an inquiry into public opinion on the issue has received 22,000 submissions — more than the marriage equality legislation received.

Not all those submissions will be in favour of the bill, and anti-euthanasia campaigners say we should keep the status quo.

“The message that would be underpinning this law would be that death is an appropriate response to suffering, and such a message would undermine suicide prevention,” says Euthanasia-Free NZ executive officer Renee Joubert.

The Voluntary Euthanasia Society says a select committee looking into the petition will soon travel the country to hear submissions.

I watched my mother die from cancer. When she was diagnosed she was told she had three months to live; she made it to almost a year…but I bet when she finally died she wished she only had three months. The last six  months were awful and the three months at the end were dreadful for everyone, including Dad and the family. No one should have to watch anyone die in pain. We put down animals in pain but humans have to grin and bear it. It’s bullshit.

We should put it on the ballot paper next year for the election and then implement the wishes of the people. The politicians can get stuffed with their conscience votes.


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