right to die

New Zealand’s Death with Dignity debate gets nasty

Matt Vickers / via Stuff

Matt Vickers / via Stuff

You might not be on the side of the Right to Die debate, but the last person you want to attack is Lecretia Seales’ husband.

The widower of Lecretia Seales says an attack on his possible attendance at a euthanasia conference has lowered the quality of public debate.

Matt Vickers is considering whether to accept an invitation to speak at the Euthanasia 2016 conference in Amsterdam in May.

His possible attendance has been slammed by the Care Alliance, which issued a press release asking if he would now lobby for suicide pills for all over 70s.

Matthew Jansen, secretary of the group, which formed in 2012 and includes Family First NZ, Hospice New Zealand and the Salvation Army, said Mr Vickers’ attendance showed “what a slippery slope the so-called right to die really is”.

You choose your battles, don’t you? ?And slicing the throat of a grieving husband looking for meaning for his wife’s life isn’t the way to do it. ? Read more »

Face of the day

Lecretia Seales.

Lecretia Seales.

Today’s face of the day is Lecretia Seales. I never knew you but I will always remember you. Thank you for starting this fight on behalf of all those now and in the future who find themselves in your situation. I sincerely hope that you were able to die without pain surrounded by your loved ones. Read more »

Will we get Right to Die via the courts instead of parliament?


In a New Zealand first, the fight to allow a Wellington lawyer to die on her terms has taken its first step in court today.

Lucretia Seales [SIC] has terminal brain cancer and the 42-year-old wants her GP to administer a lethal dose of drugs to allow her to die if she chooses.

She’s taken her fight to the High Court, where today her lawyers fought to not allow outside organisations who have taken an interest?to?get involved in the case.

Ms Seales says she doesn’t want to die, but terminal brain cancer gives her no choice.?? Read more »

Of all the human rights, where is our right to die?

Lecretia Seales is dying of a brain tumour, and is lobbying the government to reform the laws on assisted dying.

The 41-year-old Wellington senior public lawyer was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and is having palliative chemotherapy.

She believes it is a fundamental human right that she should be able to say goodbye to her husband and family at a time of her choosing and while she remains fully conscious.

If I had this right, I wouldn?t be going out tomorrow and exercising it, but it would be comforting to know I had that right.

Former Labour MP Maryan Street had been trying to change the law with her End of Life Choice Bill, but the bill she introduced was withdrawn from the ballot late last year.

Yes. ?They didn’t want to get messed up by their Dirty Politics strategy. ? But it needs to come back. ? Read more »

French find halfway house for killing off the terminally ill


Terminally ill patients could be sedated until they die under plans in France to end suffering in the last stages of their life.

The laws would give people the ‘right to deep, continuous sedation until death’ at patients’ request -?and only when their condition is life-threatening in the short term.

The French parliament will debate a draft law on the highly sensitive issue from January, President Francois Hollande has revealed.

Although euthanasia is not permitted in France, laws were passed in 2005 that allows for ‘passive euthanasia’, where a person causes death by withdrawing or withholding treatment.? Read more »

Rodney on Right To End Life

Rodney Hide pens a lovely piece from his column about his good friend and ACT man Martin Hames.

This is one side of the debate and a very powerful one. ?The only good thing to come from Martin’s ending his own life was that he first up failed which gave his friends time to say goodbye properly. ?The good thing to come after that moment was a powerful narrative to use in this debate.

Martin lived alone. He didn’t own a TV. He didn’t have a car. He was the shyest man I have ever met. I never knew him to have a girlfriend.

Martin worked with me in Parliament. He used to call me Boss even though I wasn’t. It was his way of getting me to do things.

Martin’s mother had died of Huntington’s disease. Her truly dreadful death took years. In the final stages of Huntington’s the mind loses its ability to control even the simplest movements – even swallowing is difficult and many sufferers die choking.

So, at 19 years old, Martin learned he had a 50 per cent chance of suffering the disease. He decided not to marry. Or have children. The risk was too great. And in his 40th year he got the fateful diagnosis.

We knew what he was planning. But the law forbade us helping or even knowing.

?Then the end

I dreaded going to see him. I needn’t have. “I am having a great death, Boss. I am getting to say goodbye to my friends.”

His characteristic shyness was gone. Why bother? It was his last day on this Earth.

Ruth Richardson shed a tear. “See,” said Martin, “I always knew you were a big softie.”

The young press sec kissed Martin and said, “See you round.” Martin replied: “Maybe – it’s taking me longer to die than they thought.”

Martin Hames died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of the next morning. His dad was there. He died happy and he died content.

Martin had every right to take his own life. He also had every right to ask for help. But to give that help is against the law.

Maryan Street’s End of Life Choice Bill, now before Parliament, would have enabled Martin to plan his death better. He would not have needed to rush to it.
This debate however will end up more passionate and “godly” than marriage equality. ?But it is every bit as important to have. ?People have a right to life but they also have right to end their life should factors be involved that prevent them from living a quality of life that the body should allow.

The Right to Die

??The Telegraph

A man in?the?UK has secured a judicial review of the law surrounding him having the “right to die”. He wants the right to end his own life, basically at the blink of an eye:

Locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson accused politicians of ignoring “one of the most important issues facing our society today” as he voiced his “delight” at winning the first stage of his right-to-die court battle.

Mr Nicklinson, a married father-of-two who communicates only by blinking or nodding after being left paralysed following a stroke, says he is “fed up” with his life.

He is asking for declarations that doctors can help him end his “intolerable” existence without facing a murder charge, saying it would be the “right and decent thing” to empower people to make such a choice.

A High Court judge ruled that his case could proceed to judicial review, despite arguments by the Ministry of Justice that it should be struck out because what Mr Nicklinson wants the courts to do should be a matter for Parliament.

Mr Nicklinson who sums up his life as “dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable”, will now have his case heard fully later this year.

The 57-year-old welcomed the decision in a statement read out by his wife Jane, a former nurse.

He said: “I’m delighted that the issues surrounding assisted dying are to be aired in court. Politicians and others can hardly complain with the courts providing the forum for debate if the politicians continue to ignore one of the most important topics facing our society today.

“It’s no longer acceptable for 21st century medicine to be governed by 20th century attitudes to death.”

Mr Nicklinson, who lives in Melksham, Wiltshire, and has two grown-up daughters, suffered a stroke while on a business trip to Athens in 2005.

In a statement to the court he said: “I have no privacy or dignity left. I am fed up with my life and don’t want to spend the next 20 years or so like this.

“Why should I be denied a right, the right to die of my own choosing when able bodied people have that right and only my disability prevents me from exercising that right?”

I think they really need to make sure there is an agreed signal or something otherwise he could wind up dead just because he had a tic in one eye.