Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Submission time

It sounds like religious groups have been sending through a pile of submissions opposing David Seymour's end-of-life bill on assisted suicide.

Today's the last day for submissions. Hit the link here to put in yours. If you don't have your own, you could just copy mine in and say you agree. Or improve on it. Remix as seems fitting.

  1. I am a New Zealand Permanent Resident who hopes to live in New Zealand until the end of his natural life.
  2. Death is abhorrent, but some ways of dying are more abhorrent than others. This bill allows those facing truly miserable ways of dying to find a better way of ending their lives.
  3. Failing to adopt this legislation will not abolish suicide. Whatever your moral views on suicide, people facing intolerable end-of-life conditions currently have suicide as a de facto option.
  4. Current legislation forces those facing intolerable conditions to pursue suicide in worse ways. Because it is forbidden to provide assistance to someone considering suicide, a person knowing that an intolerable end awaits must either suffer that end, or commit suicide while still in sufficient bodily control to be able to effect that choice. 
  5. Allowing assisted suicide allows those facing an intolerable end to defer suicide to a later date, when life has become - in their view - no longer worth living. This point may come well after the point at which suicide would be impossible without assistance. 
  6. The legislation imposes no obligation on any physician to provide assistance. Any physician with moral objections to providing assistance can simply not provide that service, leaving it to others who are willing. 
  7. The legislation places substantial restrictions on those wishing to pursue assisted suicide; the potential for abuse of the provision seems limited.
  8. Those with moral or religious objections to suicide, and to assisting with suicide, will continue to have recourse under this legislation to not pursue suicide or to assist in suicide. Nothing in this legislation compels those opposed to assisted suicide to assist in the process. Those with moral or religious objections to assisted suicide should not have the right to impose their views on others. 
  9. A continuation of the current ban on assisted suicide is morally abhorrent. My life is my own, and the choice to end it is mine.
  10. In the absence of a provision for assisted suicide, should I face terminal illness with severe diminution in capabilities and/or intolerable pain, I would have to end my life on my own while I still were able to do so. I would have to do so secretly, to avoid imposing legal risk on my family who might otherwise be thought to have been complicit in my decision. It will be lonely, and terrible. To those Members of Parliament who think it immoral to allow me a better end-of-life choice, should I ever wind up in that situation, know that you will not be preventing a suicide but only ensuring a worse one. Is that really what your God would want?

On the recommendations part, I only said that Parliament should pass the legislation and should not impose further restrictions on access to this choice.

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