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NZMA Seeks Vote Against "Death with Dignity" Bill

NZMA Calls for MPs to vote against the ‘Death with Dignity’ Bill

NEW ZEALAND MEDICAL ASSOCIATION MEDIA RELEASE
TO: All Health Reporters/Chief Executives/Press Officers
FROM: Susan Budd, Communications Manager
DATE: Wednesday, 30 July, 2003

NZMA Calls for MPs to vote against the ‘Death with Dignity’ Bill

The NZMA has written today to all MPs urging them to vote against Peter Brown’s private member’s ‘Death with Dignity’ Bill.

‘The NZMA and medical organisations throughout the world, including the World Medical Association, consider that it is unethical for doctors to participate in or assist euthanasia. Doctors consider it their duty to save lives, not end them,’ says NZMA chairman Dr Tricia Briscoe.

‘Our position is based on a longstanding and careful consideration of the issues involved and access by the terminally and chronically ill to high-quality palliative care,' she says.

‘Doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia involve taking people who are at their weakest and most vulnerable and placing them in a situation where they believe their only alternative is to kill themselves. How a society treats it weakest, most in need and most vulnerable members tests it moral and ethical tone.’

‘The ‘Death with Dignity’ Bill relies heavily on doctor involvement in the euthanasia process. Members of Parliament need to be aware than even if the Bill were passed, it would continue to be unethical for doctors to be involved, so at a practical level a key premise of the Bill is untenable,’ she says.

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