Last week the New Zealand Parliament passed the assisted suicide and euthanasia Bill, which means it is now subject to a referendum at next year’s general election.
The architects and proponents of this Bill have been hailing it as a piece of legislation which, if passed into law by referendum, will grant New Zealanders the right to die.
That’s not what this Bill does though.
What it actually does is grant you the right to merely ask permission of the state to be assisted to commit suicide or be euthanised by lethal injection.
But you don’t get to make the final decision as to whether that happens or not – the state does. They will be the ones deciding whether you die by assisted suicide or euthanasia, not you.
What the Bill also does is create two new and seperate classes of human beings in our country.
The first class are those people who will be denied assisted suicide or euthanasia because they are categorised by the state as living lives that are too good to be ended in such a way.
The state will examine the lives of these people and declare ‘no, it is not okay for you to be assisted in your suicide or killed by lethal injection because we deem your life to be too good for such an act.’
Then there is the second new category of people: those who are living lives that the state now considers to be without dignity. Lives that, in the eyes of the state, are so unworthy of living that the state will happily grant permission for them to be assisted in their suicides or euthanised by lethal injection.
Not only will the state sanction your assisted suicide or euthanasia if you are in this second new category, but they will also provide and pay for the lethal substances that will end your life.
They will normalise and glamourise this practice by calling it a ‘right’, and labelling it as a compassionate and good thing for the state to do to New Zealanders who fall into the second category.
At which point the seeds of demise will have been sown for the many vulnerable New Zealanders who will eventually become the unwilling or collateral victims of this new and deadly regime.
Regardless of whether the people in that second category want, or seek permission from the state to have assisted suicide or euthanasia, they will still be living in that new class of people who are deemed to be living lives not worthy of living by the state.
This will automatically put them at greater risk by opening up a new pathway to wrongful death that does not exist for people in the first category.
Make no mistake about it, if this Bill is passed into law, vulnerable people will be wrongfully killed by the state’s assisted suicide and euthanasia programme.
It is not a matter of ‘if. It is a matter of ‘when’.
It is already happening overseas in the tiny minority of places that have enacted assisted suicide and euthanasia regimes. Only someone who is ignorant of the facts or wilfully dishonest would even attempt to deny the wrongful deaths of vulnerable people that have happened in those places.
Anyone claiming that the ‘safeguards’ in this Bill will prevent such things from happening here too is also telling lies or speaking from a place of unjustified wishful thinking.
Legal safeguards, no matter how tight they are (and the ones in this Bill contain glaring and dangerous deficiencies) can never prevent mistakes, malfeasance or malicious acts which result in the wrongful killing of vulnerable New Zealanders.
The best that even the strictest of regimes, with the most intense scrutiny of the programme can ever hope for is a reduced number of wrongful killings – but no assisted suicide and euthanasia programme can ever prevent wrongful deaths from happening.
This Bill will apply to the WHOLE community, not just the tiny minority who want the state to end their lives, or to assist them to take their own lives.
So, the essential question for us, the New Zealander voters, now becomes: are we willing to accept the wrongful deaths of vulnerable New Zealanders at the hands of a government run assisted suicide and euthanasia programme?
Alarmingly, a majority of our MP’s are seemingly okay with this, or, at best, haven’t even bothered to consider that this will be one of the outcomes of the government-run assisted suicide and euthanasia programme that they have just given their support to last week in Parliament.
So, the power to protect the vulnerable members of our community now lies with us, the New Zealand people – and the only way to protect vulnerable New Zealanders from these wrongful killings is to vote no in the upcoming euthanasia referendum.