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Broad Alliance launches to oppose legalising euthanasia

20 March 2014

Broad Alliance launches to oppose legalising euthanasia

A coalition, assembled to oppose the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted-suicide in New Zealand, has been formally launched today at a function at Parliament.

The Care Alliance is an umbrella organisation that brings together a wide range of voices from across the palliative, medical, youth, elderly, disability, bioethics and faith sectors who are opposed to euthanasia.

The Alliance was established in 2012 in opposition to the poorly written, confusing and flawed End of Life Choice Bill proposed by a Labour List MP which has since been withdrawn following political pressure.

“As long as there is a political intent to legalise euthanasia in New Zealand, we need to be vigilant. The Care Alliance will oppose any efforts to legalise euthanasia or assisted-suicide," said Care Alliance co-founder Maggie Barry.

“Although the latest Bill has been withdrawn for political reasons, there remains an active intent to re-submit it to the Ballot at the earliest possible convenience. We will continue to oppose any progress to legalise euthanasia because a law change will inevitably have unintended consequences for all vulnerable New Zealanders and their families, it puts lives at risk and reduces choice,” said Ms Barry.

"Our key concern is the long-term consequences for public safety. This is not an issue for just a few. Regardless of personal beliefs, all New Zealanders would be affected by the public safety consequences of legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide," said Dr Sinéad Donnelly, a palliative care physician.

"Legalising euthanasia goes against the core values of the medical profession and will radically change the doctor-patient relationship, ultimately undermining good clinical and palliative care. It will devalue the lives of the elderly and people living with disabilities, and increase the risk of abuse among the most vulnerable New Zealanders,” said Dr Donnelly.

"No legislation can protect against abuse. The best safeguard against abuse is prohibition,” said bioethicist Dr John Kleinsman.

"Over the coming months, we will continue to have conversations with New Zealanders about their concerns around euthanasia and assisted suicide."

The Care Alliance supports increased investment in excellent end of life care for those who are dying and for support of their families. We will work to oppose any law changes that hurt, rather than protect, those New Zealanders who are our most vulnerable”.

ENDS

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