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Illingworth speaks out against End of Life Choice Bill

Queens Counsel barrister-at-law Grant Illingworth speaks out against End of Life Choice Bill in #DefendNZ third documentary – A life in chronic pain

Grant Illingworth QC speaks out speaks out against the End of Life Choice Bill in the third documentary released today by #DefendNZ – a grassroots movement opposed to the End of Life Choice Bill.

Mr Illingworth is concerned that, should the End of Life Choice Bill pass, it would be impossible to know with 100% certainty that people are making a free choice in requesting euthanasia or assisted suicide.

He sees the End of Life Choice Bill as a dangerous shift in law and medicine. He comments on the documentary A life in chronic pain, “The State has an obligation to protect its citizens – that is part of the social contract that we have between individuals and the State.

“Modern societies are often judged by the way they treat their weakest and most vulnerable citizens. The End of Life Choice Bill inherently involves people who are in a state of weakness or vulnerability. During my over 40 years of experience as a barrister, I have seen the pressures and abuses that can come to bear upon people who are in a state of weakness or vulnerability.”

A life in chronic pain features the story of Dr John Fox of Christchurch, who was born with spastic hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.

John experiences chronic intense pain and mobility decline. His mobility decline means that he is “in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability”. Doctors and lawyers he has consulted say that he could be eligible for euthanasia under the End of Life Choice Bill.

John is very concerned that the End of Life Choice Bill creates a “conveyer belt to suicide” for those who are seriously ill or who have disabilities. He finds this not only greatly troubling but also extremely discriminatory.

John states, “If I were a 25-year-old rugby player, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Suddenly, because I’m sick, I have to stand in front of a camera and say why I think my life is valuable. This in itself is a huge problem.”

As well as Mr Grant Illingworth QC, also complementing John’s story are exclusive commentaries from Dr Mary English (GP and spokesperson for Doctors Say No),Hon Dame Tariana Turia DNZM (former Minister for Disability Issues and Associate Minister of Health), Professor Margaret Somerville (Professor of bioethics, Sydney and Montreal), and Richard McLeod (Human rights, immigration and refugee lawyer).

The film can be viewed at www.defendnz.co.nz/john

#DefendNZDisabled
ENDS

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