End of Life Choices Bill – Submissions

End of Life Choices Bill – Submissions

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Rev Stuart Lange, NZCN Interim National Director, presented our oral submission to the Justice Select Committee on the End of Life Choice Bill on 21 May, 2018. Maxim Institute was also among the list of nine submitters in the afternoon session and have shared the link to the video of the session.

I recommend watching the video simply to gain an appreciation of how citizens and organisations can participate in the shape of the laws that govern our nation. The afternoon session was 2h 45 min long but you can use the guide below to find specific submissions. Simply click on the video to play it, then drag the slider to the desired start time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1528324754777{background-color: #eaeaea !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/6″][vc_single_image image=”26396″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][vc_column_text]

Approx start

6:50
21:50
51:30
1:03:00
1:22:00
1:38:30
1:56:00
2:09:20
2:20:20

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Name of group or person making their submission

Motor Neurone Disease Association of New Zealand
End of Life Choice NZ
Cordon Copeland
Centre for Science and Citizenship Trust
NZ Christian Network
Maxim Institute
Remote New Zealand Mission Project (teleconference)
Conservative Party NZ
New Zealand Human Rights Commission
(Paula Tesoriero – NZ Disability Rights Commissioner)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row disable_element=”yes”][vc_column][vc_column_text]6:50          Motor Neurone Disease Association of New Zealand

21:50        End of Life Choice NZ

51:30        Cordon Copeland

1:03:00     Centre for Science and Citizenship Trust

1:22:00     NZ Christian Network

1:38:30     Maxim Institute

1:56:00     Remote New Zealand Mission Project (teleconference)

2:09:20     Conservative Party NZ

2:20:20  New Zealand Human Rights Commission
(Paula Tesoriero – NZ Disability Rights Commissioner)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

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#metoo

#metoo

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Have you seen the social media hashtag #metoo? It seems to have sprung up everywhere since American actress, Alyssa Milano tweeted:

Me too.

Suggested by a friend: ‘If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.’

Like thousands of other women around the world, I responded. Me too.

Sadly, I wasn’t surprised when a number of my friends and relatives did the same. But this particular post captures the heart of what happens when someone allows Jesus to intervene.

On behalf of so many others thank you, Lyn, for giving me permission to share it here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1509077173646{background-color: #f5f5f5 !important;}”][vc_column][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″ offset=”vc_hidden-md vc_hidden-sm vc_hidden-xs”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1509077632438{background-color: #ffffff !important;border-radius: 3px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Me too. #metoo

I’m not posting this just so people can be aware of how big the problem of sexual harrassment/assault is. Yes it’s important to know the problem exists and how widespread it is. Yes it’s important that we speak up and do all we can to stop it.

But I’m posting for those who have had this happen to them – it’s important to know that your life doesn’t have to be forever defined by what happened. How do I know because I’ve been there. I was abused for many years by family members. What happened was real, horrific to go through and wrong on so many levels.

But what happened to me and to you does not have to define who you are; only you get to choose what defines you. You are the only one who can choose whether your identity is bound to what happened or you can choose whether your identity is found in who you are apart from that event or events. Your identity is not found in being “a victim of…” Your identity is found in who you are in your personality and character – are you honest, funny, kind, loving, giving, etc – that’s who you are, that’s your identity!

If you need help in processing what you’ve been through then please get help, don’t feel you are alone or have to go through this on your own. There are many good counsellors out there who are experienced in helping people and giving them the skills needed to move beyond this. Can I also suggest that there is true healing to be found – in the one who bore our griefs and sorrows in himself – Jesus. I know some of you will not agree with me speaking about Jesus but for myself I have found that as I have allowed him to bring comfort and healing that has been beyond mere learning how to cope, He has truly taken away all the sting and pain of the many years of abuse I suffered.

Remember – even though something horrific may have happened to you it doesn’t define you – you are still you, you are valued, loved and loveable, you are unique and precious and all of us need you to stand up and tell your story.

If you haven’t been through this yourself then please be aware that many have, please don’t stay silent – silence is part of what allows this hideous practice to continue.

If you’re a Christian then can I ask you – please reach out to those who are hurting and love them back to wholeness again. Grieve with those who grieve, pray with those who need prayer, and fight for those who can’t.

#metoo

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Continuing on the #metoo theme for just a little longer. I am all too aware that sexual harassment and abuse is not confined to one sex only, it is not only women that are preyed upon; too many boys and young men are preyed upon by others (male and female) too.

Again I have seen this in my family growing up, some of my brothers were preyed upon by men who should have known better, who should have been the responsible adult yet whose sexual appetite ruled when their brain should have. As a result of the abuse we suffered as kids my family grew up having to deal with much brokenness, believing lies about ourselves, being tormented by memories and sometimes physical effects, wrong mindsets about who they were and with dysfunction in so many areas. Each of us responded differently but the trauma and pain is still evident for so many of us. And so the abuse continues – it did not end just because the physical part of it ended – it continues to have an effect in our family even today.

There are too many men who feel they cannot speak out for varying reasons – because their manhood would be questioned, they would be ashamed etc. So they live with brokenness and dysfunction, hoping no one finds out yet secretly hoping someone will recognise they need help.

As I said earlier I know of only one who bore our griefs and sorrows, taking them upon himself and in doing so made a way for us to be healed and that was Jesus. Can I ask, please if you need healing, consider reaching out and asking Jesus to bring you healing, he’s the only one I know who can.

Men – as I said in my earlier post today when I shared my personal story – even though something horrific may have happened to you it doesn’t need to define you – you are still you, you are valued, loved and loveable, you are unique and precious and all of us need you to stand up and tell your story.

If you haven’t been through this yourself then please be aware that many have, please don’t stay silent speak out against it; silence is part of what allows this hideous practice to continue.

If you’re a Christian then can I ask you – please reach out to those who are hurting and love them back to wholeness again. Grieve with those who grieve, pray with those who need prayer, and fight for those who can’t.

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MIC 08 | The experts against euthanasia

MIC 08 | The experts against euthanasia

To help New Zealanders understand what David Seymour’s ‘End of Life Choices Bill’ entails, and what it would mean in Practice, MAXIMINSTITUTE hosted two visiting UK experts at their recent MIC event.

Baroness Ilora Finlay is Professor of Palliative Medicine at Cardiff University. She has been President of the Medical Women’s Federation, President of the British Medical Association, President of the Royal Society of Medicine and is President of the Chartered Society for Physiotherapy. She also chaired the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland, and since 2014 has chaired the National Council for Palliative Care.

Robert Preston worked in Whitehall as a civil servant for 30 years. In that role he examined Lord Joffe’s Private Member’s Bill, “Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill” and he is now Director of the think-tank, Living and Dying Well, which works to examine the objective evidence surrounding the controversial end-of-life debate and publishes research to help inform Parliament and the public.

Both came to be involved in the issue of assisted suicide and euthanasia through their involvement in the 2005 British Select Committee that conducted a comprehensive investigation of the practices of assisted dying around the world. Following the conclusion of that inquiry, both have continued as advocates of improved elder and palliative care, as well as working to oppose legalised assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Both presentations were highly informative, however, the Q&A segment was extremely illuminating. Below is the list of questions asked from the floor with the timestamp on the video.

  • 1:25 Q: Who are you to tell someone who is in pain that they can’t do what they want? If it’s their life, shouldn’t they have the right to do what they want?
  • 4:20 Q: Can palliative care really relieve all suffering? Aren’t there going to be people who still suffer even with the best care we can offer?
  • 5:20 Q: How do the safeguards in David Seymour’s End of Life Choices Bill compare to the safeguards required by similar laws in The Netherlands, Oregon, Belgium etc.?
  • 8:25 Q: Do you think there’s any chance your views on assisted suicide would shift if one of your own family members was ill, in agony, and wanted help to end their pain?
  • 13:30 Q: Purely this is too important a question to trust to just 121 MPs in Parliament. Shouldn’t we settle the issue of euthanasia with a binding referendum so the people can decide?
  • 16:00 Q: Isn’t opposition to euthanasia just driven by religious views? How do you think religion interacts or should interact with this subject?
  • 16:50 Q: You talk about the Hippocratic Oath – “first do no harm.” Proponents of euthanasia have made legal arguments that suggest denying people access to legal assisted suicide means that we’re essentially forcing them to continue suffering, and in essence, doing harm to them. Also, they say that people who want to die on their own terms may choose to commit suicide before they lose capacity, effectively shortening the life they could have had if they were certain someone else could end their life for them later on. How do you respond to these arguments?
  • 20:55 Q: You talk negatively about the rising numbers of people using euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Netherlands and Oregon respectively. Isn’t this just showing that legalising it is giving people options that they want? Is it necessarily a bad thing to see rising levels of euthanasia?
  • 23:45 Q: It seems that a lot of this debate isn’t just about levels of pain, but it’s the idea that any level of suffering or loss of autonomy is something we should have the right to avoid. How do you address those sorts of concerns?
  • 26:20 Q: In your experience in public debate around assisted suicide in the UK, what’s one argument that you have found really resonates with people?
  • 30:35 Q: What about situations where someone is in agony because of their condition, but simply ceasing medical treatment won’t allow them to die? Isn’t there a case for assisted suicide then?

Looking for more articles on Euthanasia and the debate in New Zealand?

NZ Christian Network

MAXIMINSTITUTE

Hospice NZ
includes a recording of a teleconference with Baroness Finlay

Nathaniel Centre

Euthanasia-Free NZ

MIC 08 | The experts against euthanasia

Voluntary euthanasia bill to be debated. Again…

On 8 June 2017, ACT MP David Seymour’s private members’ bill was pulled from the ballot, starting the latest round of the euthanasia debate. It seems like only yesterday, that a bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia was withdrawn amid fears it would become a political football during an election year. Hang on, it’s an election year again!


What’s the difference between Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide?

Euthanasia is an intervention undertaken with the intention of ending a life to relieve suffering, for example, a lethal injection administered by a doctor

Assisted suicide is any act that intentionally helps another person kill themselves, for example by providing them with the means to do so, most commonly by prescribing a lethal medication


When David Seymour’s bill was drawn, National and Whanganui MP Chester Borrows said he was firmly against it [the bill].

We have a horrific record on suicide and I think it sends a message that sometimes it is okay to top yourself. And I disagree with that.

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said he was likely to vote against it, but may vote for it to go to a select committee so it could be properly debated. “Ultimately life is sacred and I think there are … ‘thin edge of the wedge’ arguments that concern me.”

What will that debate look like? The world has progressed since Maryan Street’s ‘End-of-Life Choice Bill’ was dropped. Views have changed and euthanasia laws in other countries have evolved over the past four years. Here’s a quick look at recent articles in the media if you want to consider the trajectory euthanasia laws have taken.

Did you read the first article in the list? Here are are some of the key points that need highlighting:

The Dutch are complacent about their famous law, he says. But there is no room for complacency. Under current legislation, euthanasia is only legal if a doctor believes that three conditions have been met: (1) the request must be voluntary and deliberate; (2) there must be unbearable suffering with no hope of improvement; and (3) there must no reasonable alternative to euthanasia. However, as euthanasia has sunk its roots deeper and deeper into Dutch medicine, the second and third conditions have shrivelled up. Patients define what is unbearable and they define what is a reasonable alternative. Unhappiness can be unbearable and a nursing home may not be a reasonable alternative. So, as one ethicist has observed, requirements (2) and (3) “add little to the requirement of a voluntary and thoughtful request”. Autonomy has trumped medicine. As a result, the number of euthanasia cases roughly tripled between 2007 and 2016, from 2000 to 6000.

One sign of the changing times is the rapid expansion of the services of the End of Life Clinic Foundation (Stichting Levenseindekliniek). This organisation offers euthanasia to patients whose own doctors have refused. They never offer to treat the underlying illness, whether it is physical or mental.

Last year, Dr Chabot points out, doctors from the End of Life Clinic each performed about one euthanasia every month. “What happens to doctors for whom a deadly injection becomes a monthly routine?” he asks. Now the End of Life Clinic is recruiting psychiatrists to service the mentally ill and demented. One obvious problem is that there is a shortage of good psychiatric help in the Netherland – which tends to take a long time have an effect, in any case – because of budget cuts.

Dr Chabot is deeply sceptical about euthanasia for the demented: “we are dealing with a morally problematic act: how do you kill someone who does not understand that he will be killed?”
How? It turns out that sometimes a relative or doctor secretly laces their food or drink with a sedative to make it easier to give them a lethal injection. In one notorious case last year, the sedative didn’t work and relatives pinned the terrified woman to the bed while the doctor gave the lethal injection. Dr Chabot was astonished to discover that “surreptitious administration of medication has previously occurred, but has never been mentioned in an annual report.”
Isn’t anyone paying attention to these developments, Dr Chabot asks.

While researching this topic, I realised that only western countries seem to face this issue. Why is that? http://www.scielo.br/pdf/bioet/v24n2/en_1983-8034-bioet-24-2-0355.pdf 

What’s the real problem?

Euthanasia is presented as a solution for those who are suffering unbearable pain, by allowing them to exercise their right to take their own life and not be forced to live with their current or progressing condition.

Is depression a medical condition?

Here’s what the New Zealand Ministry of Health says,

Depression is a mental illness.. [it] can range from being a mild illness, to a severe one – where you can lose interest in life and the things you used to enjoy.

Some of the signs of depression:

  • feeling tired all the time
  • getting too much sleep or not enough
  • feeling worthless and helpless
  • thinking about death a lot
  • having no energy and feelings of low self-esteem
  • loss of appetite or overeating
  • sadness or emotional ‘numbness’
  • loss of pleasure in everyday activities
  • irritability or anxiety
  • poor concentration
  • feeling guilty, or crying for no apparent reason.

Do we condone suicide in New Zealand?

No. We actively campaign against it.


What’s Euthanasia?
Asking someone else [a physician] to intervene and take your life because you are unable to do so yourself.

“… a rose. By any other name, would smell as sweet.”
~ Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene II


Are there other solutions to this problem?

We need to stop victimising people facing ‘unbearable pain’ or ‘extenuating circumstances’ and reach out in love.
Think differently. Look for alternative solutions and, if you can’t find one, make one!

Did you catch the story in Stuff that came out the day after the bill was pulled from the ballot?

Husband’s ingenious solution to his wife’s loss of mobility

John Darnley says the first time he rolled down the street with Avis on the front of his bike, she loved it. Photo: Kevin Stent / Fairfax Media

“There was a time when visitors would come for miles just to chat with Avis Darnley.

But as Parkinson’s disease has melted away the muscles in her jaw and throat, left her in a wheelchair and stolen her ability to speak, life has got smaller.

Most days she was left with just her front room, her television, and husband John.

Until John decided it was time they both got on with living.”

John and Avis Darnley’s story demonstrates that there can be creative solutions to improving one’s quality of life.

Here’s another article, this time from the USA, about a man who takes an unconventional approach by taking care for his elderly neighbour. Their story reminds me of ‘the good Samaritan’. California Man Cares for Ailing 89-Year-Old Neighbour and Best Friend in Her Final Days: ‘Kindness Heals.

Hospice New Zealand have a lot to say on this issue.

Hospice New Zealand does not support a change in the law to legalise assisted dying in any form. Nor do we consider that a change in the law would be in the best interests of the people we care for.

We believe Government should be investing in palliative care, increasing access to care and support not legalising euthanasia. Only when all New Zealanders have ready access to expert end-of-life care can a balanced debate begin. We support that all New Zealanders have the right to choose where they die.

The Nathaniel Centre played an instrumental role in the previous attempt to legalise Euthanasia in New Zealand.

It goes without saying that Family First will play a very public role in this debate, and that Maxim Institute to provide well-researched information for the country to consider.

I’ll close with a final thought by Maxim’s CEO Alen Penk,

David Seymour’s private member’s bill is based on an illusion. It assumes that it’s possible to create safeguards around assisted suicide practices that can prevent wrongful deaths. However, international evidence has shown that there is no reliably safe way to legalise euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Need more clarification around the euthanasia debate?

Check out this resource by John Kleinsman

Examples of actions which are not euthanasia are often used to argue for law change which is euthanasia.
This brief article aims to clarify some of the terms and issues in the hope that we can prevent this from happening.