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Significant increase in opposition to euthanasia

10 December 2018

Significant increase in opposition to euthanasia: submissions analysis

There has been a significant increase in opposition to the legalisation of euthanasia, according to Peter Thirkell, Secretary of the Care Alliance.

“Of the 21,277 submissions to the Health Select Committee’s investigation into end of life issues, 77 percent were opposed to legalisation,” said Dr Thirkell. “By contrast, there were more than 36,000 submissions to the Justice Select Committee about the End of Life Choice Bill, and preliminary analysis shows opposition running at 92percent.”

Dr Thirkell said that the increase in both the number of submissions and the proportion opposed to euthanasia is highly significant. “What we are seeing is that the more people know about euthanasia the less they like it.”

As of 7 December, just over 26,000 submissions have been uploaded to the Parliamentary website, of which Care Alliance volunteers have so far read, analysed and coded 20,000. Dr Thirkell says that a final report will be issued once Parliamentary Services staff finish uploading all the submissions.

Dr Thirkell said that “Mr Seymour should accept that the overwhelming majority of submitters argue that euthanasia is unnecessary and dangerous for practical reasons related to suicide prevention, respect for disabled people, and the vulnerability of people with terminal or chronic illnesses.”

He said that many of the submissions contained deeply moving personal stories. “We trust that the Select Committee will hear that we need to improve mental health, disability and end of life services in New Zealand, but that euthanasia is a problem rather than a solution.”

ENDS

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