Support for Euthanasia?

April 29th, 2012 at 10:53 am by David Farrar

Sarah Harvey in the SST  reports:

The MP campaigning for the right to die has been buoyed by a poll that shows more than 85 per cent of respondents to a survey supported voluntary .

The Sunday Star-Times reader poll of more than 1000 people also found almost three-quarters of people would help a terminally-ill loved one commit suicide, and that support for a law change is highest among men, and those over 60. Labour MP has been working with the Voluntary Euthanasia Society on her End of Life Choice Bill, which would give people the right to “choose how and when they exit this life”.

The private members bill will have to be drawn from the ballot to get a hearing, but Street says the reader poll had the highest support she had seen, with most polls getting 75 per cent backing for a law change.

I wouldn’t compare a readers poll to polls of random New Zealanders. I do think however there is considerable support for a law change amongst the public.

“There is more support out in the community for this than people imagine,” Street said. She had seen a change since a 1995 euthanasia vote was lost 61-29, to 60-57 when it was revisited in 2003. “And, nine years on, attitudes have changed again.”

I think the current law is quite cruel when people like Sean Davison are made into criminals for doing what his mother begged him to do.

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119 Responses to “Support for Euthanasia?”

  1. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    There’s certainly a lot of interest in this subject. There were 300+ at the debate in Dunedin on Thursday – Shaun Davison would have attracted attention to it but there was an excellent lineup of speakers.

    The euthanasia discission begins.

    Euthanasia discussion – speaker’s comments.

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  2. Harriet (4,616 comments) says:

    When they pointed out in aussie that ‘turning off life support’ is letting someone die naturally from their injuries or illness, and is NOT euthanasia, along with the fact that ‘pallative care’ has given and enabled people to have an ‘exceptionable phyiscal quality of life’ up to their last 7 days [most dying people are NOT bed ridden before the last 7 days] the ‘polls’ changed from being in favor for euthanasia to against.

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  3. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    I condemn Davidson. He should have anywhere neat his mother administering medicine. We only have his word that is what his mother wanted.

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  4. Dick Prebble (60 comments) says:

    Zzz… Truth is very few people are faced with the thought of euthanasia as we are not always having to watch dying parents suffer terribly. This would be a law change (one that I support) that caters to the minority. The only thing that pisses me off the most about the debate is when the Christians start coming in and giving stupid arguments against it that’s as bad as listening to American Christian political radio go on about how the world is going to end because of gay marriage.

    tvb – perhaps if there were laws surrounding the issue Davidson would not have had to do it in secret, thus there would have been more medical transparency surrounding what his mother wanted.

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  5. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    tvb – a fact that I don’t think has been questioned – Davison’s mother was on a hunger strike for 5 weeks before her death, she was trying to starve herself to death.

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  6. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    One thing the Stuff article mentions and this came up at the debate was that perhaps we should just provide better palliative care.

    Yes, we should do that. But it doesn’t address two important issues – the best possible palliative care can still allow disconcerting suffering, and the freedom of choice for someone who knows their death is immiment.

    As in this Personal ‘end of life’ experience.

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  7. DJBunny (1 comment) says:

    I just watched my Dad die a horrible, slow and painful death from brain cancer. I was there at the end and it has left me traumatised. My Dad didn’t want to die like that; he was a believer in euthanasia for terminally ill patients, like himself. If it wasn’t illegal for me to help him end his suffering when he wanted, then I would have done it in an instant. We put down animals because we love them and we want to end their suffering, yet we deny humans the same level of compassion.

    And for all those spouting palliative care, yes, they are good but given a choice my Dad would not have wanted to be incontinent (with strangers having to wipe his bottom), bed-ridden and drugged-up for days on end waiting to die. It is undiginified, cruel and inhumane.

    Euthanasia should be a personal choice for terminally ill patients.

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  8. Falafulu Fisi (2,177 comments) says:

    Yep, those who have been on the dole for all his/her life simply because of being lazy, should be encouraged to end their miserable life as living on a $20 weekly handout from the Govt must be very painful mentally. We do know some of these individuals, since they occupy their whole day here on kiwiblog posting irrelevant message just to keep their mind busy otherwise they would have committed suicide long time ago for being bored and depressed.

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  9. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    It’s my observation that pro-euthanasia talking heads (who want to remain in the cool crowd) don’t actually acknowledge with serious concerns anti-euthanasia people have and issues with this that have occurred overseas. They just get all emotional and say uninsightful things like “I think the current law is quite cruel when people like Sean Davison are made into criminals for doing what his mother begged him to do.”

    David Farrar is classic for this. Normally a level-headed person who’s insights are helpful and who 99% of the time demands evidence for important economic or social decisions. But on this topic he just goes all goo-goo in the head. I guess it’s hard to be popular in Wellington when you question certain ‘social progressive-isms’.

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  10. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    DPF

    Sean Davison big noted himself, he could have done what his mother wished and STFU but he grandstanded .

    Politicizing your mothers death = dog shit as far as I am concerned.

    An attempt at more socail engineering from labour- surprise surprise, it would probably do labour some good if they came up with sensible economic policy rather than this sort of shit that the Wellington insiders consider important – legalizing how you can put your parents down is not a priority.

    And by the way legalizing euthanasia is not socail progression, not even close

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  11. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    East Wellington Superhero – while we can learn of various things that are tried overseas what is important is if we can improve on the current laws as they relate to choices over death and euthanasia. We can learn from things that didn’t work well, and make sure we have a begtter way of dealing with it.

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  12. holysheet (300 comments) says:

    PEB
    I thought it was his sister who outed him after their mothers death

    As I understand it you can end your own life by simply refusing any further medical intervention. This can be so horrendous and painful that very few patients actually carry it out.

    WHY SHOULD THEY BE PUT IN THIS POSITION!!!!!!!!!

    The doctors know when a person is dying and they should be able to assist the patient to that ending as painlessly as humanely possible. When my 89 year old man was in his last week, (in a coma) doctors said they could prolong his life. After the family had a very brief discussion the doctors did nothing and he died peacefully 2 days later.

    By contrast I had a dog suffering terminal cancer. The vet euthanased her to end her suffering. What is the difference??
    One was illegal and the other was a legal requirement not to let the animal suffer.
    No wonder in my next life I want to be a kunikuni pig.
    Looking out the window as I write this I see my pet pig enjoying the best life ever.

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  13. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ Pete George

    Perhaps.

    However, is suspect that similar to abortion in NZ, the things that we don’t want (like children pulling down their parents that are getting to expensive to care for (or just too inconvenient); or the mercy killing of those tha may not actually want it; or depressed people going through a rough patch; etc) will start to occur outside the law and outside the so-called ‘control measures’ that pro-euthanasia insist will be put in place. As these will be carried out by doctors, and behind the closed doors of rest-homes, how will it be policed? Making a law is almost useless is these scenarios as we’ve seen with abortion. Despite many of the abortions falling outside the law, it’s almost impossible to get the courts to do something about this and thus makes the law a joke – as would be the ‘protections’ in euthanasia laws.

    I acknowledge that abortion is different, and that some would contend the law should change to accommodate the ‘abortion-on-demand’ culture that we have. That’s another debate for another day. My point is that once these ‘control measures’ are only policed by doctors behind closed doors, we will have lost control.

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  14. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    holysheet

    I actually not against the concept but and without yelling,

    Its in the hands of politicians, so its fucked from the get go.

    then Who will actually do the killing?, and thats what it is, someone will deliberatley take an action that will result in someones death.

    I always wonder when people talk about this whether they have ever killed anything, cut a lambs throat or shot a deer.

    I just hope that if a law was ever passed that the final action wont be abdicated to some government agency, but I’f my mother needs to be put down I have to push the button because after all this is an act of love, or so I keep hearing

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  15. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Cue religious whining and BS…

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  16. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    The anti ethu’ers need to answer one question….just who’s life is it? Who has the right to make that call?

    That’s right….now shut up and mind your own damn business.

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  17. Mark (1,434 comments) says:

    Wellington East superhero I agree. Thin end of a wedge that in all likelihood end up being driven by a financial imperative and convenience rather then an issue of dignity.

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  18. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Still no one else’s business. And no law overrides individual human rights….of which the right to ones life and the ending of it by ones choice is paramount.

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  19. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    As always, this isn’t a black and white affair, and those who try to make it so in order to stand on their soap box are just belittling a very complex situation. In that it is quite similar to the abortion debate.

    Most people would have no issue with someone who is in the last throes of death being helped on their way – if they’re dying, gasping for breath, and the doctor gives them a bit of morphine to help them on their way, nobody is complaining.

    Conversely, if someone is at the fine age of 70 and going through a rough patch, they declare they have no further use on this planet and would like to be dead, we’d generally see that as a depression issue and someone who helped them out (it is their wish after all) would rightly be seen as having done the wrong thing.

    In between there are a large continuum of mental and clinical states. Using one end or the other of that continuum to make an argument is dishonest. The reality is that we’re talking about where on that continuum we’d like the rule to be.

    My personal view – if someone is:
    a) within a week of death, in pain, has asked for it to be ended, and sound medical opinion says that they have no hope of recovery, then that should be allowed. Lots of weasel words in that, but I think people understand the caveats I’ve made.
    b) in a vegetative state and sound medical opinion says their brain is gone, their living will can request withholding food. Despite the fact this person cannot feel pain, I think it’d be more humane to allow something a little more proactive than withholding food – since the result is identical

    That’s about it for the situations, but I believe it covers most of the heart string tugging tales that we hear, and would be a substantial improvement over the current state. Going any further, to me, creates too many risks of misuse/misapplication.

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  20. thedavincimode (6,590 comments) says:

    What about the case for philuthanasia?

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  21. Kiwi Dave (82 comments) says:

    Those who are interested in this issue should go to Eric MacDonald’s blog

    http://choiceindying.com

    for informed and thoughtful discussion on this and other matters, as well as a moving account of his own wife’s death.

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  22. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ The Scorned

    What if it’s the children wanting to get rid of their parents?
    Or is someone is going through depression and decides they want to die at that point in time?

    What if Sean Davidson’s sister didn’t want their mum to die?

    Do you think in those cases it’s no one else’s business?

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  23. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    “the fact that ‘pallative care’ has given and enabled people to have an ‘exceptionable phyiscal quality of life’ up to their last 7 days”

    Sometimes but not always. Those who are paralysed certainly do not have a reasonable quality of life. When you can do nothing at all ‘palliative care” is useless. And it may be a consequence of both physical and mental disease or injury.

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  24. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ Alan Wilkinson

    I would concede that palliative care in not perfect and doesn’t cover every single situation. But it covers a vast vast vast majority.

    But in some ways, this is beside the point. What the pro-euthanasia groups are asking for is more than just some legal cover for the extremes. They are asking for a wider-spectrum right-to-die.

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  25. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Does anyone here seriously believe that if permitted, and however stictly guided from the outset, that state or personal financial consideration won’t influence euthanasia policy? Anyone?

    Humans have an absolute track record of doing that is convenient, and bending the law to deliver that convenience.

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  26. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Cue the dishonest followers of ancient religious rantings, trying to dress up their reasons for denying human rights as anything but what it really is.

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  27. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    PIA – I assume you’re addressing your 1:34 remark to me. Do you believe financial considerations would ever become part of euthanasia policy?

    We have an aging population, diminishing healthcare resources relative to age-related increased demand. I have no problem with an individual choosing to end their life. It’s theirs. The issue I have is a gradual move towards policy supporting the convenience of third parties. If that is a dressed up reason, please tell me why.

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  28. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    who is going to do the actual killing? ( or dressed up) speeding up the passing, moving to the other side expeditiously or putting out of misery

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  29. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ Put It Away

    Put it away yourself.

    It’s not just the religious that oppose this so why don’t you STFU and give some good arguments instead of whinging about religious people.

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  30. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay: a fair bit of it goes on today, usually the doctor does it. It’s not like we get out our killing knife and slit their throat. Generally they administer an overdose. If they’re convinced that person is terminal (leaving aside the obvious observation that life is terminal, I presume we mean terminal in the “within a few days of dying” sense of that word) then I don’t think they find this to be a moral quandry.

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  31. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    PaulL
    Yea I got that , the point I’m trying to make is that its all very well to have a discussion regarding this but it s a wee bit different when the actual act has to be done. Its not like its legislation for a new give way rule .

    I don’t believe that it is something that should be handed over to Tom the Euthanaist down on the corner, if your mum wants it done, the family pushes the button.

    And lastly I feel sick thinking that legislation could be passed by such mental giants as Brendan Horan, Andrew Williams ,et al.
    Thats where the problem is with this being brought up, our Parliament is in no way representative certainly not to the level that something like killing off the willing requires.

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  32. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    No kk, it wasn’t aimed at your comment, we were writing at the same time, I didn’t see yours til I finished mine. But you certainly fit the profile – fundamentalist nutcake who publicly proclaims any reason except the real one.

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  33. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    But you certainly fit the profile – fundamentalist nutcake who publicly proclaims any reason except the real one.

    You choose to disbelieve my motives and/or ignore my stated concern … because I’m a Christian?!? Wow.

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  34. Harriet (4,616 comments) says:

    AW & EWS

    I see and agree with the points you are both making [reasonable quality of life / wider-spectrum candidacy] . Paraplegia is really just a case of ‘having to place more thought in getting around’.Paraplegia doesn’t limit one’s opportunity to partake in life’s other experiances such as travelling overseas or travelling to the picture theatre where other senses such as sight or hearing take over, so that the experiance is as enjoyable as it is to someone who is not paralysed. Relationships & shared experiances with friends or with the public at large, don’t often include the use of legs as the main contributing factor. Opportunities for gainfull employment by the paralysed in a modern society are plentiful too.Tetraplegia on the other hand might well be included in the ‘right to die’ campaign, but I can’t see why those who suffer from ‘only’ paraplegia would want to go down that same road.Also, a large amount of patients to me, seem to come out of hospital/rehabilation after an accident in only 8 weeks or so and with a very positive attitude – given the situation they now find themselves in.Therefor, some doctors must be installing a significant amount of hope into them from the start, so I would think ‘reasurance & support’ is the key to helping people in that situation right throughout life, rather than put them up as ‘canditates in general’ for the ‘right to die’ cause.

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  35. Griff (7,008 comments) says:

    At present the caring professions are forced to do an illegal act punishable by a lengthy jail term
    And your right to die in dignity is not acknowledged
    Why should you have to wait out years of pain, suffering and humiliation just so the fundie Cristian nutjobs can feel righteous.

    Personal right not government business if u choose to terminate your life and why

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  36. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    just one of those things you can rely on, kk

    Everyone in prison is innocent.
    Weed advocates are entirely motivated by their concern about glaucoma, hemp, and terminal cancer.
    Fundamentalists are not religiously motivated in their political policies.
    The cheque is in the mail…

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  37. Harriet (4,616 comments) says:

    PIA

    Of course religion has it’s place in the ‘right to die’ arguement – more so than medicine.

    Religions offer help, understanding and support to those in need right throughout their lives, they even offer ‘last rites’, and funeral services after death.Medicine offers virtually nothing of the sort.

    Science has nothing to do with religion – and even less so in a ‘right’ to die arguement.

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  38. Psycho Milt (2,368 comments) says:

    What if it’s the children wanting to get rid of their parents?

    No-one’s suggested repealing the law against procuring murder.

    What if Sean Davidson’s sister didn’t want their mum to die?

    What indeed? The decision wasn’t hers to make.

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  39. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    PIA – Ok, so you hate Christians, our belief system, eveything we stand for. I get it. I do. Now, with that firmly established, would you care to discuss the issue of third party convenience raised in my 1:43?

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  40. MT_Tinman (3,055 comments) says:

    I would hope that when I get to the point where I am useless to anyone and/or I go completely gaga (I would not rule out later this afternoon the way the day has gone) someone puts me down, quickly and quietly.

    Preferably at that time the action will be, if not legal, at least not prosecuted – a bit like Charlie’s dope-heads.

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  41. Psycho Milt (2,368 comments) says:

    Now, with that firmly established, would you care to discuss the issue of third party convenience raised in my 1:43?

    Can’t speak for PIA, but it looks like a classic “slippery slope” logical fallacy to me.

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  42. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    kk, convenience of third parties is irrelevant, it’s up to the person doing the dying to choose if they want to die or carry on, they make their own mind up and they can give whatever weight or lack of weight they like to the convenience or inconvenience of anyone else.

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  43. mara (752 comments) says:

    I gather that opponents consider the issue to concern society at large, as in the protection of, society being more important than the individual in question. Hah, I can just see it …. dying, desperate, terminal person begs doctor for death and is told “sorry madam, can’t do it, think of the bigger picture.” Of course the doc. can now say he’d like to but it’s illegal. And that helps the patient how? I’m sure vets don’t enjoy euthanasing animals either but they do it because it is morally correct in certain circumstances. Doctors should do the same or refer. Palliation is not always available, effective or desired.

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  44. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    The classic “slippery slope” logical fallacy is what some use to suggest the worst to deny the reasonable their choice. It’s either scaremongering by deliberate exaggeration, or ignorance.

    If we change the law we (through our MPs) decide to what extent assisted dying should be legally approved.

    Currently there’s an ironic discrepancy – those with the best possible palliative care (eg via a hospice) are denied the ultimate assistance that less controlled situations sometimes provide because of a necessary commitment to not breach the law.

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  45. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Psycho – the appearence of a “Slippery Slope” argument, or its close cousin “But what if…[insert some cosmically unlikely circumstance]” always makes me smile and know they have no rational argument against what is actually going to happen in reality. But we already knew their motivations have nothing to do with arguments or reason.

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  46. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    PG I’m stealing your description of “slippery slope”. Nail on the head!

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  47. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    convenience of third parties is irrelevant

    I agree. That’s how any euthanasia law would be enacted. The issue is how any law is likely to evolve over time. PM obviously thinks it won’t evolve. That’s a valid belief, but the opposite of mine. I contend that any law would change, and that the cost to society, families etc would begin to factor into the evolution of policy. I’m not ok with that.

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  48. Psycho Milt (2,368 comments) says:

    Of course it would evolve over time. But fortunately for us we retain a pool of legislators on a permanent basis to update our legislation to match. In this case, we have adequate current legislation against ending someone’s life for the convenience of a third party and no-one has suggested changing that, so the onus is really on the people proposing this slippery slope fallacy to come up with some evidence for their view that it would happen.

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  49. Harriet (4,616 comments) says:

    A study published in the British Medical Journal found that there is an astonishing level of misdiagnosis of persistent vegetative state. The study of 80 patients supposedly in a deep and presumably irreversible form of coma found that three-quarters of them had been misdiagnosed. Many of the patients had either woken up spontaneously or had shown signs of brain activity.

    One study found that eleven patients admitted to a New York hospital who were diagnosed as having “advanced cancer in its terminal stages” did not have cancer at all. Indeed, as one doctor put it, “Significant numbers [of patients] have been told by doctors that they have only months to live, and have lived on, often with a good quality of life, for many years. As with capital punishment, if you get it wrong, it’s too late!”

    http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/05/11/further-reasons-to-reject-legalised-euthanasia/

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  50. Griff (7,008 comments) says:

    KK
    Thats why you are a right wing conservative fundie
    Fear of change, fear of the wot if in twenty years.
    Your last post consisted of “tremble tremble dont change now cause then there might be more change later”

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  51. Harriet (4,616 comments) says:

    While some argue that policies permitting the killing of patients can be strictly controlled, in the real world such controls quickly dissipate. As Wesley Smith has put it, “The carefully shaded moral distinctions in which the health-care intelligentsia and policymakers take so much pride are of little actual consequence in the real world of cost-controlled medical practice, in busy hospital settings, and among families suffering the emotional trauma and bearing the financial costs of caring for a severely brain-damaged relative. Once killing is seen as an appropriate answer in a few cases, the ground quickly gives way, and it becomes the answer in many cases.”

    Or as renowned ethicist Sissela Bok has observed, “No society has yet worked out the hardest question of how to help those patients who desire to die, without endangering others who do not.”

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  52. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    There is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether euthanasia should be permissible under the law. The answer, in any individual case, can only be, it depends.

    My personal experience involves a wife diagnosed with terminal cancer of an extremely painful and personally distressing nature, distressing for herself and her primary caregiver, myself. After being assessed as terminal, and later rescued from extreme pain only when the hospice finally found the correct formulation for her pain relief (she couldn’t take anything by stomach at that time) she insisted that I end her life if she had to endure such a time again. More than once, over something like an 18 month period, she asked this of me during periods of distressing bodily dysfunction or unresponsive pain. I decided not to, not because it may have opened me to police action, that was the least of my concerns, but because each time, when the medical staff got on top of her situation with new formulations, she was able to derive a measure of pleasure from living and contact with her loved ones.

    The kicker is what came next. I believe it is only a 3% or so chance, but after a scan showed her stomach and bowel being suffocated by numerous tumours, and diagnosed as only having a couple of weeks to live, she improved enough to be allowed a final home visit and never returned to the hospice, stunning her doctors and all of us with a slow, but complete spontaneous remission of her cancer. The only treatment she received during this period was pain relief through her GP. She now is enjoying being alive.

    I agree with Pete, for once ;-) that the slippery slope argument is irrelevant. The main point I would make is that each case is different. Today, pain is fully treatable, if often with some unpleasant side-effects.

    Just as I support the right for a woman to have an abortion, although I would never advocate for that when I am the father, given an acceptable framework in which a decision to terminate a life is made by the person concerned, I could support a law change, but doubt I would ever actually carry it out myself.

    Finally, the most basic human right, albeit probably the one most abused and denied, is the right to life. I am not convinced there is a right to death, as some above postulate. Death is an inevitability, not a right.

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  53. kowtow (7,955 comments) says:

    If S Davidson didn’t want to be “criminalised” then he shouldn’t have committed a crime.

    Quite simple really.

    Conservatives believe in personal responsibility for ones actions. Here’s a good example.

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  54. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    griff – Fear of change? I’ve worked for 10 companies across 4 different industries, started 5 of my own companies, employed 100′s of my own staff, made millions, lost millions, traveled to 60+ countries, been made redundant twice. I love change! You really need some new attack lines. You just look silly at the moment.

    For all the noise, no one has yet come out and nailed their colours to the mast on the likely future inclusion of national or personal interests in the determination of a legal death of another. I contend that it’s certain if any euthanasia legislation is passed, and impossible if it’s not.

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  55. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Harriet, would your “Wesley Smith” just happen to be the same bioethicist Wesley Smith who covers these issues for the fundamentalist “Discovery Institute”, which is best know for dishonestly pushing fundamentalist anti-science in the guise of “Intelligent Design”?

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  56. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Harriet – in PIA’s world, anyone who hold different views to him/her is inherently ‘dishonest’ and ‘anti-science’. Don’t worry too much. It’s kinda funny to watch.

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  57. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Harriet: not calling into question the study, but I find it unlikely that 75% of people in a vegetative state aren’t really in a vegetative state. If that were the case, I suspect someone would be doing something about it. Is this perhaps some dancing on the head of a pin stuff that doctors do, which really means “they’re not in vegitative state 1, they’re in the very similar permanent coma state 2 that means almost exactly the same thing”?

    As for there being a significant number of people diagnosed with advanced cancer, but not actually having cancer at all….hmm. I doubt that too. 11 out of how many?

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  58. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    kk – standing up for the ethics of the Discovery Institute? Well I guess someone had to draw the short straw.

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  59. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    Harriets introduction of “people in a vegetative state” is irrelevant to the debate on euthanasia, they cannot make a choice for themselves.

    The only way someone in a vegetative state may be able to be assisted to die is if they have given advance directions that that is what they want to happen.

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  60. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    PG – and for some reason, the source page of Harriet’s copy and paste talking point has no link or details to this “British Medical Journal study”…

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  61. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ Put It Away

    “Wesley Smith” just happen to be the same bioethicist Wesley Smith who covers these issues for the fundamentalist “Discovery Institute””

    So fucking what?

    Why don’t you address Harriet’s point, instead of hiding behind ad-hominem arguments like a coward.

    “The carefully shaded moral distinctions in which the health-care intelligentsia and policymakers take so much pride are of little actual consequence in the real world of cost-controlled medical practice, in busy hospital settings, and among families suffering the emotional trauma and bearing the financial costs of caring for a severely brain-damaged relative. Once killing is seen as an appropriate answer in a few cases, the ground quickly gives way, and it becomes the answer in many cases.”

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  62. Griff (7,008 comments) says:

    As I said fear of the unknown”wot if” and you just can not see the gap in your line of reasoning
    no one is trying to allow “death due to national or personal interests” only in your head get it
    f
    Mind you stuff this preventive detention bullshit bullets a lot more humane for mad dogs

    It happens now Usually a drug od or stop the food and starve them to death or reduce the o2 whotever
    This act is illegal
    The persons faced with this illegal act have to way up:humanity and compassion or :The law and cruelty
    That is a total fuckup

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  63. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    EWS – there is nothing to argue against. We’re talking about voluntary euthanasia by the choice of people compos mentis enough to make and communicate a clear decision, she’s talking about severely brain damaged patients. How about you stop hiding like a coward behind straw men and talk about the actual topic?

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  64. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    That’s the whole point.. eventually it won’t just be ‘voluntary’. Just like abortions in 2012 are not just for women who will die or have extreme mental health issues with having a child… they are done for convenience or wider public health economics.

    Are you being deliberately obtuse? Or don’t you get our point?

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  65. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    EWS, I think that was covered best by Pete at 3:22 “The classic “slippery slope” logical fallacy is what some use to suggest the worst to deny the reasonable their choice. It’s either scaremongering by deliberate exaggeration, or ignorance.”
    “Slippey Slope” is meaningless because you can make a slippery slope argument out of anything at all. I had to pay my power bill the other day. OH MY GOD, WHAT IF THEY START CHARGING FOR AIR!!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s just an admission you have no argument against the reality, and have to resort to making stuff up in order to have something to (publicly) object to. Strongly suggesting your actual motivations are something other than rational argument.

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  66. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Luc Hansen @ 4.02pm

    Great comment
    An I hope she is around to torment you in wifely fashion for many years

    Your comment about doubting whether you could carry out the act your self is what I having been tryin to get across, you have looked down the barrel of this matter and have had to think about it.. and I would imagine very few of us here have had to do that.

    PIA above says .. if a person is compos mentis…my thoughts are that if you are still in that state its too early to be pulling the plug

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  67. slijmbal (1,224 comments) says:

    Hands up all those who actually watched a love one die in an inevitable, painful and drawn out manner. Loss of dignity – either drugged out of any ability to be aware and coherent or the alternative is to have even breathing a painful affair. Then tell us all that this is not an act of cruelty. Also don’t tell me dying with dignity doesn’t matter for many.

    My wife has made me promise to do the dirty deed if it is truly so awful and I do mean awful.

    PaulL put it well earlier – there are extreme cases where we basically punish some people by removing their choice over their lives. Changing this to an old-people-acide argument is facile. There are plenty of ways to put in decent checks and balances.

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  68. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ Put It Away

    http://www.bmj.com/content/313/7048/13.full

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  69. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    EWS – oh look, suddenly it’s a study of 40 patients and not 80… and it’s 43% instead of 75%. And the conclusion is basically that vegetative state should be diagnosed by specialists over a period of observation rather than a bedside visit by some random ward doc. Well, duh.

    I wonder why Harriet’s source didn’t give a link…

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  70. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Strongly suggesting your actual motivations are something other than rational argument.

    There you go again PIA. Convinced that because someone has a different belief system to you that they’re (a) not capable of rational arguments, or (b) their rational arguments can be dismissed out of hand.

    I’ll try again. Tell me, do you believe that national or family convenience of any type will pay no role whatsoever in the future of euthanasia policy development.

    Close you eyes and imagine I’m a foaming athiest if that somehow helps you answer.

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  71. wat dabney (3,724 comments) says:

    Krazy,

    Any policy on any subject can be opposed on the slippery slope argument.

    The question is whether you recognised an individual’s right to kill themself.

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  72. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    no kk, he used a clearly dishonest rhetorical trick, it seems reasonable to assume that he doesn’t have any honest, sincere arguments, or he would have used them. Why start with the desperate bullshit if you’ve got something that isn’t?

    But if you insist on talking about what’s *not* going to happen, no there is no proposal to involve “national or family convenience”. If there ever was, there would be no support for it. Don’t forget, it’s only you minority of religious nuts who are out to restrict people’s right to choose whether to live or die, the vast majority believe in individual rights, and having the state decide is just another form of denying the individual the right to choose.

    Incidentally, how come xtians can never spell “atheist”? I see “athiest” spill from the keyboards of ranting fundies like yourself far more often than the correct spelling. Odd.

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  73. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    I don’t think that it is only the religious who are cautious about euthanasia. The ‘slippery slope’ argument is not easily dismissed, and I believe that some overseas experience backs this up. At present, we have a very clear legal framework, one that works in practice. I think there is a debate to be had, but we need to be aware that there are risks.

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  74. Psycho Milt (2,368 comments) says:

    For all the noise, no one has yet come out and nailed their colours to the mast on the likely future inclusion of national or personal interests in the determination of a legal death of another.

    Well, we have, haven’t we? We’ve correctly identified it as an example of the “slippery slope” logical fallacy, in which someone argues that if we allow people to do A, they might do B. In this case, “B” is currently and will remain illegal, which makes your contention that it will somehow come to be regarded as legal a contention that really requires some evidence to support it.

    That’s the whole point.. eventually it won’t just be ‘voluntary’.

    Another slippery slope fallacy. Given that the basis of the argument for this legislation is the individual’s right to their own life, there is no obvious basis for the view that it would lead to third parties holding the rights to the individual’s life. You might as well complain that giving individuals the right to vote will eventually lead to third parties voting on their behalf.

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  75. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    mikenmild – we probably disagree about virtually everything, but it would be possible to have a rational discussion about this with someone like you, because it seems to me your motives can be taken at face value and are not a front for something else that means your mind is unalterable.

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  76. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    From that, PM, I assume that voluntary euthanasia as you conceive could only be a exercised by those capable of making an informed choice. So, someone incapable of making that choice would have to continue to suffer?

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  77. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Thanks for that PIA. I’m not in this discussion because of something I was taught in Sunday School.

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  78. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    mikenmild 5:53 – I’m in favour of having the option of a legally binding ( i.e. can only be overridden by the person themselves, not family etc) “living will” that could be as specific as you like about under what circumstances you would want to be helped on your way, if you ever weren’t compos mentis enough to choose. Have an expiry date so it has to be reviewed and reconfirmed every so often just to make sure it’s not something you did years ago and forgot about and have since changed your mind.

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  79. wat dabney (3,724 comments) says:

    If ever I’m as brain dead and helpless as philu I want y’all to kill me.

    PROMISE DAMN-IT!

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  80. Nostalgia-NZ (5,045 comments) says:

    Is there any fear abroad in these arguments. If so, is it personal fear, fear for relatives, fear for a changes in society that give rise to personal concerns, or some other type of fear. As far as I can tell there is nothing in the debate or the consequences that I fear necessarily, certainly not to get angry about them. I’ve seen the ‘palliative’ care scenario at least 4 times, in one of those person, an aunt, was fully aware, another person, comatose, had earlier made the decision – but was reactive from the coma at times in the last few days, 2 others (my parents) had been in a gradual decline both complicated by some form of dementia – one of those in great pain from cancer and the other respiratory failure.

    Rather than look at the broader picture with its complications and presumptions, I need to go back to my own experiences and I think that is what too easily slips away in the arguments – and that ultimately the questions are deeply personal, perhaps traumatic for some, but also for others very clear intimate situations. For me arguing about my thoughts on how some one else conducts themselves or what decision they might make if a euthanasia law was passed is beyond my range, probably because it seems to be so intensely personal to those involved. We often see ‘open’ lives discussed here, and how the state ought to be intervening – there is common ground in much of that, child abuse for example. Writing that, has made me realise that I do have a fear on this after all, people being controlled or restricted in what comes to us all – the time of death of ourselves or those close to us.

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  81. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    While I take your point about overseas experience, the slippery slope is often confused with misapplication of the law. The legal framework around the decision making is of utmost importance. And the answer to the slippery slope is always, once you are on it, to dig your toes in.

    But surely this debate shows just how difficult it is to formulate such a framework. In the absence of tightly defined circumstances, I favour the status quo, simply because the taking of life is irreversible.

    And I remain unconvinced that dissatisfaction with one’s unfortunate circumstances, particularly when mental in nature, which may be temporary and treatable, is just cause for what is effectively suicide.

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  82. slijmbal (1,224 comments) says:

    Let me frame the discussion differently

    Someone is suffering awfully – they are about to die – no doubt about this – the rest of us decide they cannot make what for many is a very rational choice not to go out in a fashion that causes huge pain and loss of dignity, which for many in this situation is important.

    Why would you stop them? Are you such vicious, vindictive bastards?

    Don’t give me crap about slippery slope – work towards a mechanism that helps those in such a situation.

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  83. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    I’ve been fortunate not to have been in this situation with my parents, my mother went suddenly, my old man was facing a situation of badly declining quality of life but there was a risky operation that would either give him a new lease of life or finish him off quickly, he figured that was a win/win situation and took the punt and didn’t make it through the op. I would’ve done the same.

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  84. Psycho Milt (2,368 comments) says:

    From that, PM, I assume that voluntary euthanasia as you conceive could only be a exercised by those capable of making an informed choice. So, someone incapable of making that choice would have to continue to suffer?

    Well, the term ‘voluntary euthenasia’ has ‘voluntary’ in it, and I haven’t seen anyone suggesting it needs taking out.

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  85. Leaping Jimmy (16,111 comments) says:

    From that, PM, I assume that voluntary euthanasia as you conceive could only be a exercised by those capable of making an informed choice. So, someone incapable of making that choice would have to continue to suffer?

    mm this debate has never been about anyone else making a decision for another person. Anyone who thinks it is well, crikey, they’re not very deep, is all I can say.

    The only people in this situation – i.e. who aren’t capable, are: accident victims in a coma, someone whose lost their marbles, someone handicapped who never had the capacity to think it through properly.

    For 1) and 2), what pray tell is wrong with a wish in a will? Dementia in old age does not happen overnight, people are perfectly cognisant for a long long time before they’re not. For the accident scenario, what is wrong with treating it like an organ donar situation?

    For 3) e.g. say someone with Downs Syndrome, this is difficult and I don’t have solutions. I would imagine however, the families of such people might have given this some thought and would have some useful contribution.

    On the whole though, the whole slippery slope thing is a mere meme, personally I can’t understand the motives of the supporting logic standing behind anyone who thinks that is the show-stopper end of discussion argument on this quite important and sensitive personal topic.

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  86. pq (728 comments) says:

    I will die by my own hand when I am ready,seven years from now,
    and this takes preparation,
    it is not a good idea to shoot yourself, big shotgun, much spatter inside your own home ,like Hemingway did,

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  87. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    If we are to be concerned about where a slippery slope may take us we should also consider where things could slide to if the law isn’t changed – we might end up with people on blogs judging who deserves painkiller while they are dying. You never know how the current law might get abused.

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  88. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    Luc, very good comments. Slippery slope or present injustice, pain and suffering? I do find the present law both inhumane and an unprincipled infringement of human rights masquerading as holier than thou sanctimony.

    Harriet, there are unfortunately many cases in which palliative care does not provide any quality of life. They include tetraplegic, severe stroke, motor neurone, severe Parkinsons, dementia, severe schizophrenia and doubtless many others.

    I don’t see any real opportunity for abuse if in such cases an independent medical and judicial authority assesses both quality of life and patient uncoerced wishes to approve medically assisted death.

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  89. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Incidentally, how come xtians can never spell “atheist”?

    PIA – That’s quite funny.

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  90. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    East Wellington Superhero (766) Says:
    April 29th, 2012 at 11:45 am

    It’s my observation that pro-euthanasia talking heads (who want to remain in the cool crowd) don’t actually acknowledge with serious concerns anti-euthanasia people have and issues with this that have occurred overseas.

    Well it’s a completely wrong observation because they actually do.

    It is the dogmatic anti-euthanasia crowd that completely refuse to enter a rational debate about the legal framework and safe guards that are being suggested.

    They have completely shut out the possibility of such a law and keep coming up with some bizarre and dishonest emotionally charged pseudo-arguments like the slippery slope fallacy or mixing vegetative state patients with terminally ill patients who are still rational.

    Actually there are honest attempts to take these issue seriously and address them accordingly, however you fail to engage in any of them, because you just keep bringing up the strawmen scenarios to deflect from the fact that in the core you are just irrationally and dogmatically opposed to any such change.

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  91. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    I’m with EWS. Why we can’t just accept there is a grey area is puzzling. As soon as you legislate you’re upping the numbers that die out of convenience. This is exactly what happened with abortion and you’re not allowed to say so in case we make poor widdle women feel baaad. Euthanasia is just suicide. without the state saying, righty oh then here’s the legal right to do so. Ezett, there is no legal framework and safeguards that can prevent this slippery slope:
    “It is the dogmatic anti-euthanasia crowd that completely refuse to enter a rational debate about the legal framework and safe guards that are being suggested”.
    Yeah, cos sometimes “no, we don’t want to see such a thing pass just means no”.
    I’ve witnessed a few in my time that don’t visit their dying parents. First broken hip, they get bumped off into a home and it’s conceivable they’d leave the means of suicide within reach for when the elderly person felt low.

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  92. Dick Prebble (60 comments) says:

    The only thing I can add to this debate is this. There are two types of people.

    One – the kind that lean towards one view, but with further discussion and reasoning perhaps may switch sides. These are people you can have rational and informed debates with.

    Two – Christians. No matter what you say, whatever scientific evidence you show, they are stubborn and prideful in their supposed knowledge that they are right and that they are God’s chosen people.

    Basically as each generation goes by, as more young people start having sex and realising that God is a load of shit, the less Christians there will be to affect public opinion. This can already be seen in the United States, where gay marriages are being legalised – simply because of this change in demographics.

    At the moment the anti-euthanasia crowd are probably 50% made of category one and 50% category two. The people in category one can be influenced – for example, homosexuality would have been unthinkable in the early 1900s, but as understanding increased these people became more tolerant. Category two there is no point in debating (e.g. people like Andrei, Lee01, EWS, Scott, etc). It doesn’t matter though, because their children, if they have any, are likely to grow up in a liberal sexual environment and once they decide the whole rule against premarital sex is stupid so too will they give up on their faith in God. Young people are leaving the more traditional Church in droves (these traditional Churches are made up of older people and preteen children). As for the more modern, Pentecostal Churches, young people that go to those sorts of mega-Churches are having sex before marriage anyway and usually don’t care about issues such as gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, evolution.

    So in conclusion, the point I am making is that there is no point debating people like EWS. No matter how much scientific evidence you give these people, because they believe in the imaginary being that is God and it would be too much of an emotional change for them to be able to accept and admit that they’re believing in a lie, they will always hold to their view that gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, evolution are wrong.

    It doesn’t matter though. By the next decade, these people will have drastically died out and will continue to die out. As demographics change, so too will the laws relating to euthanasia.

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  93. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    If people are worried about being able to “die with dignity”, they should choose to live. If you really want to commit suicide, how it looks and what sort of corpse you leave should be of no concern to you.

    Euthanasia is choosing not to have choices, so it is no choice at all. Only the living can have choices. Dead bodies have none. Death should be a difficult thing to inflict on yourself, and if you want someone to help you, then you clearly want to live. It is disgracefully selfish to want to give someone else the responsibility for snuffing out your own life.

    There is no dignity in death, so let’s stop pretending otherwise. The consciences of the living are not more important than life itself.

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  94. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    If people are worried about being able to “die with dignity”, they should choose to live. If you really want to commit suicide, how it looks and what sort of corpse you leave should be of no concern to you.

    Only the living can have choices. Dead bodies have none. Death should be a difficult thing to inflict on yourself, and if you want someone to help you, then you clearly want to live.

    Again, you don’t seem to fully grasp the discussion nor do you want to engage in it. Otherwise you wouldn’t write such heartless and insensitive nonsense.

    If someone has a terminal illness in the final stages, it is not his choice to live anymore. His only choice would be how to die. It should be possible to choose that in a painless and dignified manner, for all involved including those loved one who live on.

    I thought you were an ACT supporter, whatever happened to personal responsibility and personal choices? Or is your faith possible trumping your ideology here?

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  95. graham (2,285 comments) says:

    Dick Prebble: I kind of get the impression – and I could be totally wrong here – that you don’t think much of Christians.

    I could try debating your points with you, but I get the impression that, no matter how much evidence or reasoned arguments I present, you’re just too stubborn in your supposed knowledge that God doesn’t exist, and Christianity is all a load of hogwash – in other words, your mind is closed (which is kind of ironic, as that’s what you seem to believe about Christians).

    You seem to have this obsession with premarital sex and a liberal sexual environment. Sorry to disappoint you, but as for your assertion that “their children … are likely to grow up in a liberal sexual environment and once they decide the whole rule against premarital sex is stupid so too will they give up on their faith in God” is kind of flawed. Do you really think that people’s faith is based on one “rule”? And that, because everyone is obviously as obsessed with sex as you are, they’re going to reason, “Well if I have to follow this one rule that’s a game changer, and my entire faith is now null and void”?

    By the way, you may like to open your eyes and your mind, and see the social havoc that liberal attitudes to sex have resulted in, before you write it off as “a stupid rule”. Like many of the older traditions and so-called “rules” or guidelines in life and in modern societies, there are actually some pretty sound reasons for it. Many people these days ignore it, and they reap the consequences. I suspect, though, that you’re too close-minded to actually think about this past your own shallow biases.

    But now that you’ve got that off your chest – perhaps you could return to the point under debate?

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  96. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    Here’s both flood gates and slippery slope in one news report:

    Decriminalising euthanasia will open flood gates

    Family First national director Bob McCoskrie is against the idea, saying it could be the start of a slippery slope.

    Any law change could be the start of a slippery slope. But there’s no proof of that happening in the past, why would it suddenly happen with this.

    It sounds little more than a slippery argument.

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  97. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    Again, you don’t seem to fully grasp the discussion nor do you want to engage in it. Otherwise you wouldn’t write such heartless and insensitive nonsense.

    To whom? I am not heartless and insensitive towards the dead, they are dead and can feel nothing. I am not heartless and insensitive to those wanting to die, because if they want to die, they will be dead soon and not care about what I think because they are dead and can’t think at all – and if they want to live, then they value their own life and should not care what I think about a decision they did not make. So I am assuming you are saying I am heartless and insensitive to friends and relatives. This I am, because it is not their fucking life to end.

    If you decide that the pain of living is greater than the pain of dying, that is a decision you and only you can make, and not only am I not going to presume to judge it, I’ll be damned if I am going to let anybody else get away with it either.

    If someone has a terminal illness in the final stages, it is not his choice to live anymore. His only choice would be how to die. It should be possible to choose that in a painless and dignified manner, for all involved including those loved one who live on.

    Again, I don’t give a flying fuck about the friends and relatives who have to deal with what the corpse looks like afterwards, or how satisfied they are with how the person died. It’s not their life. They are not in charge of it. They should not be in charge of it. Death is never dignified, and usually never painless. If you want painless for yourself, how badly? Anybody can overdose on morphine and slip off with minimal fuss. If you want to do it that way that badly then forge a prescription and do it.

    I thought you were an ACT supporter, whatever happened to personal responsibility and personal choices? Or is your faith possible trumping your ideology here?

    Other than a brief flirtation (and employment) with ACT in 2008, I’ve been a National Party supporter for the past seven years (not a National Government supporter – an important distinction). I support personal responsibility and personal choice for individuals contemplating their own life, and respect the decisions they may make. But I do not respect the abdication of responsibility for your own life to others, which is what euthanasia is all about. In fact, my entire argument is based on personal responsibility, and personal choice. It is a humanistic argument. It is not my business or intent to impose my faith on others. I am not attempting to force someone not to commit suicide. I am arguing philosophically that those who abdicate the decision to others have in fact decided that they want to live, but they want someone else to kill them. I think that is wrong.

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  98. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Well said BlairM
    The premise of euthanasia cheapens life. Same old socialist indoctrination – we can’t make people feel bad so lets give them the measures to do what they want. If you don’t agree with us then you must be a naughty intolerant Christian. I believe that dick who said so above stated this.
    I’m not a Christian. I know some. I just smell a load of horseshit and self delusion. Kill oneself. DOn’t kill oneself, I’d have thought the last thing one needed in this position was permission.

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  99. nasska (10,917 comments) says:

    Monique Watson

    BlairM has shown an unusual willingness to connect with the real world in his latest offering. He is correct in that, although we have the right to end our lives as & when we see fit, we don’t necessarily have the right to instruct someone else to kill us.

    This of course opens up another debate. Blair suggests that anyone whose life has become intolerable only needs an overdose of morphine. By the time a person gets to this stage they may not have the physical ability to obtain or ingest pills. If someone (eg a relative or a nurse) leaves such medication at reach of the patient are they to face charges of aiding & abetting a suicide?

    Serious public debate & input is required before anyone even entertains the notion of putting the issue to bed.

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  100. Dick Prebble (60 comments) says:

    And that, because everyone is obviously as obsessed with sex as you are, they’re going to reason, “Well if I have to follow this one rule that’s a game changer, and my entire faith is now null and void”?

    Sex is pretty good, you should try it sometime.

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  101. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    But I do not respect the abdication of responsibility for your own life to others, which is what euthanasia is all about. In fact, my entire argument is based on personal responsibility, and personal choice. It is a humanistic argument. It is not my business or intent to impose my faith on others.

    Again, you completely fail to respond to the argument.
    You equate someone who is terminally ill to someone contemplating suicide out of totally different reasons.

    It’s not at all abdicating the responsibility, it is in fact taking the responsibility into your own hands. To argue otherwise is just intellectually dishonest and shows that you are not even considering a framework in which this would be possible, but dismissing it from the outset.

    Just like the others before you, you are unable to argue the issue without bringing building up a straw man. A humanistic argument would that someone who is at the end of his life ( not by mere age, but medically diagnosed at the the end of his life) would have the means and possibility to end his life in a dignified way. And where you are coming from is nowhere humanistic at all.

    And you are wrong Monique, if anything cheapens life it is you unwillingness to engage in the debate. Death is a part of life and how you exit has a lot to do with the value of your life. You statement that it is socialistic indoctrination is just ignorant at best.

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  102. RRM (9,667 comments) says:

    Ooh a “God” thread, this will go really well.

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  103. Mark (1,434 comments) says:

    Put it away
    Interestingly the only person raising religious issues is you. I do not think anyone is promoting some ideological religious view here. It is a subject that evokes divided opinions and to claim your opinion is better than the person who disagrees with you is simply arrogance. To disagree is fine, to derogate to try and promote your point of view is simply being an arse.

    I do not think the politicians are capable of getting this legislation right. The slippery slope argument is entirely valid as you only need to consider the parallel with abortion. Abortion in NZ is on demand. This is not what the legislation says nor was it intended when it was enacted but that is what we have because the medical profession decided that is what society needed. Whether or not you agree with abortion on demand is irrelevant to the facts. Of the legislation is wrong change it or at least have an honest debate about it. Successive governments have shied away from this as they are not so confident that 16000 abortions a year is what people want.

    Extend the abortion experience to euthanasia and who decides on the right to assisted death and under what circumstances. The medical profession? The slippery slope to death on demand is the likely outcome. The elderly who think they are a burden the probable victims.

    So you want to trust politicians to get this right, good luck

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  104. graham (2,285 comments) says:

    @ Dick:

    I did, and still do, thank you very much. I just happened to wait until I was married, and I only have sex with my wife.

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  105. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    Mark, I already answered your question. There are two components to an authorisation, medical and legal. Medical to confirm there is no medical solution to provide reasonable quality of life. Legal to confirm there is uncoerced free will. These are straight-forward, objective tests.

    Medical authorities already make life and death decisions routinely. The courts already review these when required. No “slippery slope” need exist.

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  106. Psycho Milt (2,368 comments) says:

    The slippery slope argument is entirely valid as you only need to consider the parallel with abortion.

    There is no parallel – abortion is a false analogy. In that case, the law has left a loophole and people who want abortions are using it, something which has no relevance to the euthanasia debate. An abortion analogy that supported the euthanasia slipperly-slope fallacy would be as follows:

    1. Abortion is made legal for women who choose it.
    2. Later, women’s families or the state start making the decision for them.

    I’ve yet to see anyone make a case against abortion on the basis that it’s a slippery slope to women’s families or the state making them have abortions, but somehow large numbers of people feel free to leap to a similar illogical conclusion about voluntary euthanasia.

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  107. Fay (5 comments) says:

    The BBC Ethics Guide provides a good summary of the anti-euthanasia arguments:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/against/against_1.shtml

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  108. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    Fay, the anti-euthanasia arguments fail for the same reason as the anti-abortion arguments: they must argue that euthanasia is wrong in every circumstance, whereas the pro-euthanasia argument just has to show there is one case in which it is necessary.

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  109. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    Again, you completely fail to respond to the argument.
    You equate someone who is terminally ill to someone contemplating suicide out of totally different reasons.

    I would argue that the reason is always the same – the pain of living is greater than the pain of dying. Are you making a distinction now? Are you saying that there is some objective way of measuring someone else’s pain? That physical anguish should justify euthanasia, but mental anguish should not? I’m afraid I don’t see the difference – nobody can know your own pain (mental or physical) but you. And therein lies the rub. You want to allow people to make others a judge of that pain and flick the switch on their behalf. If you’ll forgive the religious inference, that’s “playing God”. There is no way someone outside of yourself can measure your pain. You can only prove the extent of your pain by actually killing yourself – without help – and if you can’t do that, then it is obviously better that you live.

    It’s not at all abdicating the responsibility, it is in fact taking the responsibility into your own hands.

    Well then they should use their own hands, not someone else’s.

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  110. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    “Well then they should use their own hands, not someone else’s.”

    Don’t be obtuse. First, often these people are paralysed. Second, in other cases they are asking for access to appropriate drugs or equipment so they can use their own hands.

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  111. Dick Prebble (60 comments) says:

    OK, I lie – I have one last thing to add for Christians like Graham.

    Often in these sorts of ‘moral’ debates Christians will try to argue that the reason they are against a particular thing has got nothing to do with religion, but rather that they genuinely care. For example, that they genuinely care that homosexuals do not get married, because statistics have shown that homosexuals are more promiscuous, for example. Then the solution should be Christians must focus their energies on giving relationship courses to homosexuals to emphasise to them the benefits of monogamy. Christians should be encouraging gay marriage and teach homosexuals why a marriage is more stable than a non-committed relationship.

    Likewise with euthanasia – the argument is that it is a slippery slope leading to children wanting to murder their parents. So why not teach people, or teach society, or create a culture, where valuing the elderly is emphasised? It is inevitable that euthanasia will be legal in this country – I daresay within the next decade. So why not focus your energies on teaching people that elderly people don’t deserve to be thrown into retirement homes. That we should be practicing communal living with our older generations rather than moving out of home. That more community accountability should be available (e.g. allowing your neighbours from Church to occasional come over to your house and look after your parents while you are away on holiday, for example). That way taking care of the elderly will become a cultural thing, and only in the most painfully excruciating of cases will euthanasia be necessary – thus avoiding the fear that allowing euthanasia will result in an increase in murders.

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  112. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    If and when I am choking from chundering up my own shit from my terminal bowl cancer I hope I can find a good Doctor who recognises my distress and administers a suitable dose of medication for my condition.

    I will leave all the moral discussions to you more learned fellows! :)

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  113. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    If you cannot find one Johnboy just give me a call and I will pop over with my trusty Gray Nicholls and sort it out for you with one or two blows.

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  114. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    You give blow jobs BB? :)

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  115. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    Ah yes, well perhaps I might have worded that reply a little better.

    Let me just say that I would administer a couple of scintillating cover drives on your bonce, this would see you departing our world and me improving my batting.

    I see it as a win/win.

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  116. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    bb = big blow :)

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  117. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    Never shot a cricketer before.

    Wanted to, mind you, over the last few seasons of the Blackheads! :)

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  118. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    Oh christ!…this one might have legs. :)

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  119. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    Last week’s debate in euthanasia in Dunedin was opened with a presentaion by Tom Noakes-Duncan of a paper he recently completed on the topic. It’s an excellent look at many aspects of the topic.

    Voluntary Euthanasia in New Zealand:
    An Analysis of Compassion, Autonomy, and Secularism in the Public Sphere

    Abstract
    In the wake of the recent case of Sean Davison the question has resurfaced once again of whether voluntary euthanasia should be legally and morally accepted in New Zealand. This paper will survey the debate surrounding voluntary euthanasia as it has been presented in the media and by leading advocates. Arguments for compassion in the face of an inhumane medical practice, the right to self-determination to control one’s death, and society’s progression away from religious prohibitions receive particular attention. Drawing on the narrative traditions of “Jesus the healer” and their influence on medicine the arguments put forth by voluntary euthanasia advocates will be analysed in the attempt to show what contribution Christian theology could make to this public debate.

    Anyone seriously interested in the discussion on euthanasia in New Zealand should find this a worthwhile read.

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