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Australian Professor speaks out against euthanasia Bill

Australian Professor of Bioethics speaks out against New Zealand’s proposed euthanasia Bill in #DefendNZ third documentary – A life in chronic pain

Professor Margaret Somerville is Professor of Bioethics at the University of Notre Dame Australia who 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.

Professor Somerville lends her vast expertise and experience in bioethics and the euthanasia experience around the world to documentary. She sees the legalisation of euthanasia as “the crossing of an ethical and legal Rubicon, after which it becomes impossible to contain the application and practice of euthanasia.”

Professor Somerville takes part as she sees the legalisation of euthanasia as the crossing of an ethical and legal Rubicon, after which it becomes impossible to contain the application and practice of euthanasia.

She sees the End of Life Choice Bill as a dangerous shift in ethics, law and medicine. She comments of the documentary A life in chronic pain, “They think it can be controlled, but it can’t be. Once you step over that line, there is no logical stopping point.

“New Zealand is a beautiful country, but it is not unique. Should you pass the End of Life Choice Bill, you would suffer the same fate as other countries. In every single one of them, the criteria for access to euthanasia has widened, the rate of carrying out euthanasia without compliance with the law increases, and the number of cases of euthanasia increases rapidly.”

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 Professor Sommerville, 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), Grant Illingworth QC (Barrister-at-law), 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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