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“The Peaceful Pill” Ban Lifted

11 May 2008

Media Release

“The Peaceful Pill” Ban Lifted

Right to Life New Zealand is disappointed that the book “The Peaceful Pill” has been approved with an R18 classification. It should have been banned as objectionable as the book deals extensively with suicide methods.

The book has no redeeming features; it is an enticement to commit suicide, a threat to the lives of the vulnerable in society and is injurious to the common good. The book unashamedly promotes a culture of death and is opposed to a culture of life by giving details on how to commit suicide and how to travel to Mexico to obtain the lethal prohibited class C drug Nembutal.

Right to Life challenges the Chief Censor’s statement that the publication is a well intentioned book that advocates law reform and gives advice to enable the seriously ill and elderly “to make carefully considered and fully informed decisions about their own life and death.” He also states that Dr Nitschke has a right under the Bill of Rights to free expression. Right to Life believes that there is no right to encourage another person to commit suicide. The Crimes Act section 179 expressly prohibits any person from encouraging, enticing or assisting in a suicide.

It is incongruous that on one hand we have this dangerous book being allowed for sale in New Zealand and on the other hand we have the government earlier this year unveiling its 5 year plan which includes expensive TV advertising to reduce New Zealand’s suicide rate. There is approximately 500 suicides in New Zealand each year. This is a tragedy for the individual, for the family and society.

The government has a duty to defend life and to protect the vulnerable in our community. The Minister in charge of suicide prevention, the associate Minister of Health, Hon Jim Anderton has said that he will not interfere with the chief censor’s ruling. Why is the government not prepared to challenge the chief censor’s controversial and dangerous classification?

It is the intention of Right to Life to seek leave to lodge a request for a review of the chief censor’s misguided classification.


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