New Zealanders should be extremely concerned by attempts to legalise euthanasia

Press Release: Friday July 27, 2012

Voice for Life says that all New Zealanders should be extremely concerned by Labour MP Maryan Street’s attempts to legalise euthanasia in this country.

If this bill is passed into law not only will it threaten the vulnerable and elderly within our communities, but it will also mark a huge step backwards for the health sector and patient care in New Zealand.

By legalising euthanasia, the practice of medicine in this country would no longer be focused solely on patient care and the restoration of health, instead the practice of medicine would also involve the taking of a patient’s life. This would mark a huge departure from a traditional and authentic understanding of medicine, and not only would it place an unfair burden upon our health care workers, it would also pose huge risks to patient protections and safety.

Maryan Street’s attempts to legalise euthanasia also pose a great threat to vulnerable members of our community, such as persons with disabilities, the elderly and those who lack sound advocacy and support networks.

A recent University of Auckland study showed that pensioners would rather end their own lives than be a financial burden upon their families and wider society. It is not hard to see how such fears could easily be exploited by others, or how such sentiments could easily be blown well out of proportion and result in the tragic suicides of vulnerable people.

The Auckland University study highlights one of the greatest dangers of legalising euthanasia; a society in which the elderly and vulnerable feel that they have a duty to die in order to avoid being a burden upon others.

Supporters of this bill will try to claim that individuals have the ‘right’ to take their own lives, however such an ideology completely ignores the fact that an individual always exercises freedom of choice within a community context, and that a personal autonomy that is completely unfettered from communal responsibility poses a serious threat to all persons in a society.

It makes absolutely no sense that, after years of working hard to reduce the number of suicides in this country, we are now talking about legitimising that very act in legislation, and even glamorising it by suggesting that suicide can be a good thing.

Voice for Life urges all New Zealand MPs to consider the serious risks that legalised euthanasia would pose to this country when they are voting on this matter.

“The bill falls under the Minister of Health’s portfolio, which is as foolish as abortion in the same category, where the intention of death, the agent of death, the resultant trauma, and process involved are called “health services”.  Says Steve Jaunay of Whangarei Voice for Life.


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