David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill
Right to Life requests that Members of Parliament support a culture of life, by voting down this contentious bill at its first reading. This was the prudent action of Parliament when defeating Michael Law’s Death with Dignity bill in 1995 and the Death with dignity bill of Peter Brown in 2003. It was these Parliaments, which courageously upheld the common good, defended the medical profession and recognised that it was not the role of Parliament to empower the strong to kill the weak or to decide who shall live and who shall die. This bill of David Seymour, hides murder under the guise of compassion, deserves the same fate; it simply has no place in our Parliament. The bill requires a doctor who is not prepared to terminate the life of his patient, or assist in his/her suicide to refer the patient to another doctor who will. This is an infringement of conscience rights and makes the doctor complicit in the killing of his/her patient. Parliament has a duty to protect the common good. It is for the common good that doctors uphold the Declaration of Geneva, which requires that doctors have the utmost respect for human life. It is for the common good that the community can continue to maintain its trust in the medical profession to do no harm and not to kill us.
Members of Parliament should be aware that the World Medical Association, the New Zealand Medical Association, the Australian & New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and Palliative Care Nurses New Zealand all uphold an ethic to cure and not to kill. This bill is a threat to not only the medical profession, but to the life of every person in New Zealand.
Here are some implications if this bill were enacted:
• Corruption of the culture in which medicine is practiced;
• Corruption of the profession of medicine by permitting killing to be practiced
• Fundamental distortion of the doctor–patient relationship, greatly reducing patients’ trust of doctors and doctors’ undivided commitment to the healing of their patients; and
• Creating perverse incentives for insurance providers and the financing of health care, as it is cheaper to kill than to care.
Should this bill ever become law it is very likely that it would not be possible for a doctor of conscience to practice medicine. Right to Life believes that ultimately it would be a condition of entry to our medical schools that any student would have to be prepared to kill a patient or assist in their suicide.
Euthanasia is part of a culture of death and seeks to seduce us by disguising itself as a culture of life. In Belgium it has corrupted palliative care by gaining entry to hospices by masquerading as part of end of life treatment, this is also happening in Quebec.
Members of Parliament have a serious duty to protect the medical profession and the community by treating this bill with the contempt it deserves, by voting a resounding no at its first reading.