Not a member? Join now »
Welcome to our news page. Please note: you must be a member and signed in to leave comments.
WFRtDS publishes an open letter to Pope Francis, as a statement against the brief of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith called DECLARATION ON EUTHANASIA, in which the Vatican makes clear why it opposes euthanasia. This Letter may be used by whoever and whenever religious arguments are brought into discussions on end of life situations in general and (medical) aid in dying in particular.
Click here to read the letter
Thursday 1 November 2018
Most New Zealanders support some form of euthanasia or assisted dying, a review of 20 years’ research into Kiwis’ attitudes to euthanasia by University of Otago researchers reveals.
Radio NZ interview »
New Zealand is currently considering an End of Life Choice Bill. If the bill (or a modified form) passes, it would allow people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition, the option of making a voluntary choice over the timing of their death. Submissions are currently before the Justice select committee, with the committee due to report on the bill early next year.
The group of Otago researchers reviewed existing research investigating New Zealanders’ attitudes to euthanasia or assisted dying over the past 20 years.
Across all surveys, on average, 68.3 per cent of people support euthanasia and 14.9 per cent oppose legislation, while 15.7 per cent are neutral or unsure. A total of 36,304 people have been surveyed.
Lead author of the research review, Research Fellow Jessica Young, says the findings are consistent with international research.
“It seems that a majority of the public are open to the possibility of legislative change,” Ms Young says.
“It is less clear what forms of euthanasia or assisted dying New Zealanders think should be available, or when and how it should be accessible, though some form of regulation is expected.”
Survey questions typically ask respondents whether doctors should be allowed to assist a patient to die, at that patient’s request, where their condition is terminal or incurable and /or they are in pain.
Among studies that specifically differentiated between euthanasia (a lethal injection that is administered at the voluntary request of a competent patient by a doctor) and assisted dying (which the researchers define as when a person obtains a lethal prescription from a doctor and self-administers), support for a doctor to end a person’s life upon request was 67.9 per cent, whereas support for assistance from someone other than a doctor (eg, family) was only 48 per cent.
Overall, no differences were found between genders and results according to age appear to be mixed. Of all indicators of socio-economic status, only educational attainment was statistically significant, with lower educational attainment being associated with higher support for euthanasia. Those living rurally were found to be more supportive of euthanasia.
Support and opposition vary across health professional specialties with palliative care specialists being mostly opposed to euthanasia/assisted dying, whereas GPs are split more evenly between support and opposition.
Two important things missing from the review, Ms Young says, is research examining the attitudes of New Zealanders who are approaching the end of life, or people with disabilities.
While it is difficult to draw firm conclusions because of the variety of reporting methods, measures and parameters used within studies, it seems that a majority of the public are open to the possibility of legislative change.
The researchers’ conclude that specific research is needed to understand the views of potentially vulnerable populations, such as those with disabilities, and to evaluate which conditions and safeguards New Zealanders believe should be available.
Other researchers involved in the review were Senior Lecturer Richard Egan, Lecturer Simon Walker, Assistant Research Fellow Anna Graham-DeMello and Consultant Medical Oncologist, Dr Chris Jackson. The review was supported by an Otago Medical School Research Grant and Division of Health Sciences Collaborative Research.
Link to the paper:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1177083X.2018.1532915
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine
Senior Communications Adviser
Tel 03 479 9065
Mob 021 279 9065
By Robert Klitzman
July 28, 2018
"If this is what life is going to be like," my father said, "I don't want it."
I was astonished. To me, life seemed precious. It still does.
But two months earlier, he had developed leukemia and was undergoing aggressive chemotherapy. He was 78 and had survived the Great Depression, decades of hearing loss and open-heart surgery. My father was tough, but now felt unrelenting nausea, unrelieved by medication. He had lost weight and was now ash grey and weak. I had never seen him as distraught. Yet his doctors were still doing everything they could to keep him alive.
We have been notified about a number of up-coming public debates across the country between David Seymour and our opponents.
Monday 1 October. 1pm. Host - Hamish Walker MP.Gore District Memorial RSA, 12 Bowler Avenue. 12 Bowler Ave, Gore.
David Seymour against Sir Bill and Mary English.
Monday 1 October. 7pm. Host - Hamish Walker MP.Queenstown Memorial Hall. 1 Memorial St Queenstown.
David Seymour against Sir Bill and Mary English.
Wednesday 3 October. 6:30pm. Host - Nicola Willis MP.Samuel Marsden Collegiate School Auditorium, Marsden Ave, Karori, Wellington.
David Seymour, Dr Andrew Butler against Sir Bill and Mary English.
Monday 8 October. 5:30pm. Host- Matt King MP.Turner Center. 43 Cobham Rd, Kerikeri.
David Seymour against Dr Chris Reid.
by Graham Adams
Anyone keen to see assisted dying laws passed in New Zealand will be heartened by the increasing momentum of campaigns across the Tasman.
Read more »
"As a disabled person myself I want the choice, if I’m in unbearable pain or suffering in my life, to end it in a way and at the time that I choose. I think it’s really important my voice and the voice of other disabled people, who aren’t afraid of the End Of Life Choice Bill becoming legislation, are heard as much as people who are not as supportive of the Bill."
Canada’s example has lessons for other countries, says Steven Fletcher
Source: The Guardian
Aug 20th 2018
WHAT it means to be alive versus living a full life are not abstract thought exercises to me. In 1996, at the age of 23, I became a quadriplegic. As a recent engineering graduate from the University of Manitoba, driving to work at a mining job, I hit a moose with my car. In an instant I was completely paralysed from the neck down.
Continue reading »
Media release from End-of-Life Choice Society – for immediate release August 16 2018
MP accused of being rude and aggressive in select committee hearings
The End-of-Life Choice Society has lodged a formal complaint about MP Maggie Barry, accusing her of being rude and aggressive in select committee hearings on assisted dying.
The society’s president Maryan Street complained about Barry’s “trademark rudeness and discourtesy” in a letter to Justice Select Committee chairman Raymond Huo. It was tabled with the committee at Parliament today.
Street said many members of the EOLC society had registered their concern at the MP’s treatment of them when they made submissions to the committee on David Seymour’s End of Life Choice bill.
“They have found her to be discourteous, disrespectful, dismissive and aggressive during their hearings. It is one thing for an MP to hold a dissenting view from a submitter; it is quite another to be rude and belittling when members of the public are submitting a contrary opinion.
“Ms Barry’s views on the EOLC Bill are well known. That is not the matter about which I am complaining. She is as entitled to her opinion as I am to mine. It is her now trademark rudeness and discourtesy which is the subject of my complaint, on behalf of others.”
Maryan Street said that for many people it had been their first experience of making a personal submission before a select committee and the MP had turned it “into a tortuous one”.
“They have come away feeling unheard and diminished. That should not be the outcome of any submitter’s experience of presenting to a select committee.”
The committee is touring the country to hear personal submissions on the bill and with several more months of hearings ahead before the committee reports back to Parliament, Maryan Street asked the chairman to require all MPs to “conduct themselves with the courtesy and respect which they themselves would like to be accorded”.
She added: “That is not too much to expect of our Parliamentary representatives, no matter how strongly their own opinions are held.”
Contact : Maryan Street 021 977 555
Released by David Barber, EOLC media adviser 021 072 8760
Press Release: End of Life Choice Society
August 13 2018
Biased MP should resign as deputy chair of select committee, says doctor
A prominent campaigner for assisted dying said Monday MP Maggie Barry should resign as deputy chair of the parliamentary committee considering the issue because she is blatantly biased and discourteous to submitters.
“She has been bringing the process into disrepute,” Dr Jack Havill, past president of the End-of-Life Choice Society, told members of the Justice Select Committee at a hearing in Hamilton.
A retired intensive care specialist, he was making an oral submission on ACT leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill, which would allow mentally competent New Zealand adults aged 18 and over with a terminal illness likely to end their life within six months, or suffering an irremediable and grievous medical condition, to ask a doctor to help end their life.
All eight members of the original committee voted for the bill when it passed its first reading in December but the National Party replaced two of its members with Barry and Nick Smith, who both voted No.
The committee received a record 35,000 written submissions on the bill. It has split into teams of two to tour the country to hear the 3500 submitters who asked to appear before the committee in person to make their arguments.
Barry is the committee’s deputy chair and Dr Havill said he had spoken to many New Zealanders who could not understand why she “should show her bias so publicly, and indeed, spend much of her time campaigning at public meetings against medical aid in dying.
“This seems to the average member of the public as totally unfair, especially as she has also been disparaging to submitters while giving their oral submission.
“I do not maintain that she should not have opinions against the Bill, but the public expects her to act impartially in her role as Deputy Chair, and to consider evidence which supports medical aid in dying (MAID) in a reasonable manner. She has been bringing the process into disrepute.
“Our opinion is that she should resign from the position as Deputy Chair because she is heavily compromised.”
Dr Havill said later that he had also written to the Minister of Justice Andrew Little and the leader of the National Party Simon Bridges to complain about Barry’s behaviour in the committee hearings.
He quoted one submitter as saying the MP had got up during her five-minute presentation to make herself a drink and was ”quite demeaning” with her questioning.
© End-Of-Life Choice • PO Box 321, Gisborne 4040 • Email: email@example.com