A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Voluntary Euthanasia Inquiry Announced

Simon O'Connor

Simon O'Connor

Anouncing an inquiry into voluntary euthanasia, chairman of the health select committee, Simon O’Connor, said members were “ready to engage” on what was an “important conversation that needs to be had.”

The inquiry will consider how best to involve the public and what questions and terms of reference need to be included, he said.

On the previousday, former Labour MP Maryan Street and Matt Vickers, the husband of Lecretia Seales, who died of a brain tumour on the same day she lost a High Court bid, presented an End-of-Life Choice petition to MPs.

Commenting on the petition, Dr John Kleinsman, Director of the NZ Catholic Bioethics Centre, urged New Zealanders to inform themselves fully about the topic. “Many people believe the issue is fundamentally about ‘choice’ and nothing more, but the matter is incredibly complex.”

Dr  John Kleinsman

Dr John Kleinsman

“As Justice Collins stated in his recent High Court judgement, there are complex legal, philosophical, moral and clinical issues associated with the question of euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

“All our choices are made in, and influenced by, the context in which we live.”

“There has never been a more dangerous time to contemplate a change when one considers the continuing rise of elder abuse, the increasing social isolation of the elderly, greater pressure on families to provide care, and increasing economic pressures on our health system.”

“In our current context, the so-called ‘right to die’ would, for many people all too quickly become a ‘duty to die’.”

“It would send a message to many vulnerable people that you would be ‘better off dead’. And you can’t legislate against that. That is not the sort of society I want to live in” said Dr Kleinsman.

The petition was delivered to the health select committee on the next day.

O’Connor said It would take a couple of weeks to come up with a plan for the inquiry.   

Source: Cathnews   www.cathnews.co.nz

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