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New Zealand Medical Association - Euthanasia

New Zealand Medical Association - Euthanasia

Right to Life is deeply concerned at the proposal of the New Zealand Medical Association [NZMA] to review its policy on euthanasia at its coming board meeting this month. We strongly recommend that the Association uphold its ethics and its commitment to the World Medical Associations Declaration opposing euthanasia made in Madrid in 1987.

We should understand that euthanasia is about doctors killing their patients or assisting in their suicide. The proposed review follows the recent British Medical Association [BMA] Conference. On the 30 June in a carefully contrived vote at the end of conference when most of the 449 delegates had left the following resolution was passed 92 to 82.

The resolution was that “ the BMA should not oppose legislation which alters the criminal law but should press for robust safeguards both for patients and for doctors who do not wish to be involved in such procedures” This resolution undermines the BMAs long standing opposition to euthanasia.

The medical profession has a 2400-year Hippocratic tradition of opposing euthanasia that states “I will give no deadly medicine to anyone even if asked nor will I ever suggest such a counsel.” The NZMA has a serious duty to uphold the sanctity of life ethic and the inalienable God given right to life of every human being from conception to natural death.

Euthanasia is part of a culture of death and should be strongly opposed. Should the NZMA change its stance on euthanasia it would be a threat to us all, particularly the elderly the frail and disabled for it is cheaper to kill a patient than to provide proper care.

It could also change society’s attitude to the elderly and disabled. New Zealand has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world. What message would the NZMA give to youth if it changed its stance on euthanasia? Doctors who are prepared to kill their patients as a treatment option would become the most dangerous persons in the land. We don’t need euthanasia; we have excellent palliative care and death with dignity that is provided by caring staff in our hospices.

Euthanasia The killing of defenceless human beings is morally wrong and a violation of human rights. The NZMA should remember the words of Abraham Lincoln; “No law can give me the right to do what is wrong”


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