The euthanasia debate

May 6th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

John Kleinsman writes in the SST:

But so, I would argue, is every other personal view. Whether or not people are personally in favour of, or opposed to , is ultimately beside the point. To ask this question, as a recent Sunday Star-Times’ poll did, is to ask the wrong question. The crucial question is whether can be safely implemented in the current context. Maryan Street, MP, glibly asserts that it can, while ignoring overseas evidence that says otherwise. I and many other New Zealanders of no religious persuasion believe differently. Our argument centres on safety and protection of those who are vulnerable.

If the debate is about how do we make euthanasia safe, rather than does a person have a right to end their own life, then that is a step forward.

We should firstly recognise that we already have unregulated passive euthanasia in New Zealand, where people are allowed to die, even though they could be kept alive. I think there is far greater risk in the status quo, than in legislating the circumstances under which someone’s wishes to die can be implemented with assistance.

The Northern Territory law mandated:

  • A patient had to be over 18 and be mentally and physically competent
  • The request had to be supported by three doctors, including a specialist who confirmed that the patient was terminally ill and a psychiatrist who certified that the patient was not suffering from treatable depression
  • A nine day cooling off period

That seems like good safeguards to me. In the Netherlands the safeguards are:

  • the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no prospect of improvement
  • the patient’s request for euthanasia must be voluntary and persist over time
  • the patient must be fully aware of his/her condition, prospects and options
  • there must be consultation with at least one other independent doctor who needs to confirm the conditions mentioned above
  • the death must be carried out in a medically appropriate fashion by the doctor or patient, in which case the doctor must be present
  • the patient is at least 12 years old (patients between 12 and 16 years of age require the consent of their parents)
  • A regional review committee assesses whether a case of termination of life on request or assisted suicide complies with the due care criteria

I think 12 is far too young, and would take the restrictions from the Northern Territory as being stronger.

The reality is that that it is not that difficult to come up with restrictions and safeguards to restrict it to cases where the patient is in immense pain and suffering, and will die anyway. Having a euthanasia law will in fact allow many patients to live longer as as present some kill themselves while they are still able. A euthanasia law would mean they would not have to do so, if they knew later on they could ask for euthanasia. Those who have Huntington’s Disease especially would benefit.

That the dangers of euthanasia are real is readily acknowledged by those wanting to legalise it. It explains why a lot of emphasis is placed on building in so-called safeguards. It has also been admitted by Maryan Street, in a public debate, that no amount of safeguards can stop the law being abused. So the argument about dangers cannot be dismissed as the rantings of “meddling god-botherers”.

Any law can be abused. We have a law against murder, but that doesn’t stop it. We have euthanasia happening at the moment, despite no law. The fact a law can be ignored is not a reason to not rationally consider the benefits of such a law.

I recently met Sean Davison, who was convicted of assisting in the suicide of his mother. He strikes me as a genuine, warm person, who had the courage to follow his beliefs. It is apparent he did not make his decision lightly, and that he thought long and hard about his action. But there will no longer be any need for the same degree of soul-searching if euthanasia was to become legal.

What John Kleinsman glosses over is Sean Davison faced a criminal trial and could have neded up in jail for many years, as the result of his love and compassion. I do not believe making euthanasia legal will mean there is no soul-searching. But it will transfer the decision from Sean to his mother – she is the person who should have got to decide, rather than have her son tormented by agreeing to her wishes.

In addition, in a society that is increasingly characterised by the isolation of the elderly, growing pressure on health care resources, and growing numbers of elderly people requiring expensive care, legalising euthanasia will contribute to those who are at the end of life, and those who are disabled, increasingly feeling they are a burden. They will feel as if they have to justify their existence to the rest of us.

I do not accept that argument, and regardless I would propose that it be available only to those in considerable pain and suffering – not just those who are old.

It is what one commentator has called “the distant and off-handed dismissal of the quality of life of certain people”. No law can offer safeguards against this. The right to die will quickly become the duty to die.

It hasn’t where it has been legal. This is just scare-mongering.

We should not underestimate, even for a moment, the subtle ways, conscious and unconscious, families have of putting pressure on their own to relieve their burden of care – both emotional and financial. Those working with the dying know this only too well. The very act of making euthanasia legal will remove the most effective barrier we currently have against such abuses.

Simple – you do not allow it, unless they are in pain and suffering. Merely dying of old age will not qualify.

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139 Responses to “The euthanasia debate”

  1. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    For anyone that’s interested, I’ve collated links, news, comments and debate on euthanasia here.

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  2. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    “The crucial question is whether euthanasia can be safely implemented in the current context.”

    No it isn’t. Nothing is ever entirely safe so that is just an attempt to win the argument by redefining it.

    The question is how to implement it with adequate protection for the rights of all concerned. As I have said before that test is met by an independent medical and legal expertise to determine there is no coercion and no medical remedy for the intolerable quality of life.

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  3. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    Merely dying of old age will not qualify.

    Street says her bill will limit assisted death to people with terminal illness.

    I think Kliensman tries to widen then debate because he knows at a simple level (that the bill is said to be confined) there are indications of strong support for a change.

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  4. big bruv (13,228 comments) says:

    Street deserves to have the full support of everybody from the right in her effort to have this bill passed.

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  5. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    If the debate is about how do we make euthanasia safe, rather than does a person have a right to end their own life, then that is a step forward.

    Except that the arguments re: safety are not being used to move the debate forward. They are being used as an argument as to why a person should not have the right to die, or not be allowed to act upon it. They are being used to subvert the discussion on rights.

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  6. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Yes……those who value life and peoples rights over their own must support this whole heartedly.

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  7. Peter (1,578 comments) says:

    I’m not a Labour supporter, but I support Street on this issue 100%. Where are National?

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

    “Street says her bill will limit assisted death to people with terminal illness.”

    Yeah right. Just like abortion is only legal for instances where the mothers life is in danger or would suffer extreme mental suffering? And now we have 16,000 abortions per year.

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  9. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > The right to die will quickly become the duty to die.

    Kleinsman’s argument is pretty weak if he has to resort to this sort of nonsense. I am always bemused by those who argue against euthanasia who profess great concern for those affected by any law. They seldom express any concern or empathy for the pain and suffering of those who would be helped by a law change. You have to question the motives of Kleinsman. I suspect if his own mother or father was suffering, he might change his stance.

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

    “I think 12 is far too young”

    Why? What philosophical grounds does one base this on? If you can justify it for an 80 year-old. Why not a 12 year-old? It seems ad-hoc.

    [DPF: Not at all ad hoc. You do not become an adult until 18]

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  11. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    EWS, the abortion law was always just a sop to the religious nutters. Quite an expensive sop as well. If you don’t like abortion don’t have one – though of course hypocrisy was always rife on this issue.

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

    This is what will happen:
    Patient (wanting to die due to depression/’duty’/shithead kids that don’t want them around anymore):
    “Oh doctor, the pain is terrible”
    Doctor (who is busy and has to do eight of these today and as this has been legal for a decade now, he just assumes that if the patient wants it, who is he to say otherwise):
    “Sorry Mr Smith, I’m not sure if you’re actually in as much as you say you are. Your symptoms are not consist with the condition you have”.
    “Oh doctor it really is bad, you don’t understand what it’s like, no more please.
    “Hmmm”
    “C’mon doc, it’s my choice”
    “Fine, who am I to judge. It’s your body”
    “Yeah, it is my choice”
    “[Doctor thinking to himself - 'Yeah, and Euthanasia Supervisory Committee doesn't actually monitor this anyway, the media won't know, Mr X's shithead children won't complain, and it's what he wants.']
    Done, Signed off. Next patient…

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

    @ Alan

    That was a great argument for the legalisation of abortion. “Don’t like murder, then don’t murder anyone…” Please.

    Furthermore, if abortion is so supported by the public then why didn’t Labour put it through when they had the change? The didn’t because it’s not as popular as pinko cheerleaders think it is.

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

    Some of you need to go back and read Brave New World.

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  15. Dick Prebble (60 comments) says:

    Maybe you should read the Bible East Wellington Superhero and look at how many babies God killed.

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  16. Peter (1,578 comments) says:

    Done, Signed off. Next patient…

    So what? If terminally ill people want to go now rather than later, for whatever reason, they want to go. None of your business.

    If you don’t want it for yourself, don’t do it.

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

    @ Dick Prebble

    What does the Bible have to do with any of this? Or was that comment just your lazy attempt to win the debate by simply asserting that i’m religious and therefore must be wrong?

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

    @ Peter

    Should we let people who are going through depression exercise their ‘choice’? Should we let older New Zealanders that are neglected by their children exercise their ‘choice’?

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  19. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    Long, long before you loose all your mental faculties, and before dementia sets in, along with the awkwardness of being incontinant and sexually inactive, partially death & blind, bored, housebound and reminiscing about a long passed productive purpose, please give some thought to the opinions of medical ethicists – and the crap they say about making NZ smoke free by 2025.The sheer hypocracy !

    And besides,

    Every person living the ‘prescribed’ life – that’s what leftism is all about.

    And the best part is – the government has consulted with ‘experts’ to determine what the prescribed behaviors should be.

    What could be so wrong with that, all you fools ask?

    Well, I’ll tell you – your already dead !

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  20. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    EWS: “[Doctor thinking to himself – ‘Yeah, and Euthanasia Supervisory Committee doesn’t actually monitor this anyway …”

    Sure, a medic will throw away a lifetime’s study and profession to oblige a patient’s delusion. Get real.

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  21. jims_whare (398 comments) says:

    Oh how your argument makes so much sense DPF – it seems you have every little angle covered – terminally ill, 3 doctors, etc etc.

    However your arguments are shallow, short term thinking, and have no thought of the affect of this law on future generations.

    Say it was enacted in 2012 – yup in the short term it would probably be fine – maybe 10-15 people a year would opt for it; terminal cancer and the like.

    However it legitimises and makes it acceptable in society that if you aren’t happy with your life, and feel in lots of pain (physical emotional??) then your docs can give you a jab and you’re gone.

    The thing I don’t get out of all this is: NZ abolished the death penalty for murderers some 40+ years ago as it was deemed that to kill our worst criminals for taking someone’s life was too harsh; perhaps it violated their human rights??

    However the same mindset/collective progressive paradigm says that the worst criminals shouldn’t be put to death, however unwanted unborn babies can, nay should be put to death.

    Now the same paradigm says people who are terminally ill should be put to death – but it won’t stop there.

    Just like abortion was justified by extreme cases of incest & rape but over time it came to be accepted by any woman for what ever reason to kill their unborn baby, so the same will happen with euthanasia.

    First terminally ill people, then it will be permanently disabled people, then ihc people, then why not poor people, and racists?
    (Mothers-in-laws perhaps?)

    All the time the same folk will die in a ditch to stop any suggestion of the death penalty for murderers/child abusers.

    There is a word for this thinking – its called Hypocrisy. (AKA double standards) And you DPF, unfortunately, are guilty of this as much as any other liberal ‘enligtened’ person.

    It is no wonder that many young people in NZ have no direction in life, no sense of right and wrong, and no purpose in life when flaky crap/principles are promoted by an older generation who are supposed to have life experience and wisdom (dont make me laugh) to make good and right laws for this country.

    As for terminally ill folk, the government should fund proper hospice care/pain relief medication in order to allow these folk to pass away naturally and with dignity – not to be told hurry up and sign the paper – you’re a waste of breath.

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  22. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    EWS: That was a great argument for the legalisation of abortion. “Don’t like murder, then don’t murder anyone…”

    Well, it is certainly a necessary prerequisite – frequently broken by “anti-abortionists” as soon as their own family is actually in the hot seat.

    Furthermore, if abortion is so supported by the public then why didn’t Labour put it through when they had the change?

    For the same reason we still have the moronic “War on Drugs” which keeps killing people. The political nuisance created by the advocate nutters is not worth the hassle.

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  23. jims_whare (398 comments) says:

    Oh and what would you do in the situation, where a person with a terminal illness is not able to signify their desire to get the chop? Would you then allow family members to do it on their behalf? What about docs?

    Oh but its not fair – just because someone isn’t able to verbalise their wishes they miss out on euthanasia?

    Doctor surgeries/hospital are meant to be places where sick people get made well – soon they will be the friendly gate to the funeral parlour.

    Also will those that get put down have to pay for the privilege?

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  24. wat dabney (3,656 comments) says:

    Now the same paradigm says people who are terminally ill should be put to death

    Why are you totally mis-representing the proposition?

    If you had a coherent argument I don’t think you’d need to grossly distort and lie like this.

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  25. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    Thanks, jims_whare, you’ve nicely summed up the confused thinking and entire school of red herrings conservatives seem to bring to this debate.

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  26. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    jim_whare: Now the same paradigm says people who are terminally ill should be put to death

    Hyperventilating nonsense. Those with an intolerable incurable quality of life should be allowed and assisted to end it. If you can’t tell the difference how do you expect anyone to respect your opinions?

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  27. Dick Prebble (60 comments) says:

    East Wellington Superhero (782) Says:
    May 6th, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    @ Dick Prebble

    What does the Bible have to do with any of this? Or was that comment just your lazy attempt to win the debate by simply asserting that i’m religious and therefore must be wrong?

    @ East Wellington Superhero

    What does Brave New World have to do with any of this? Or was that comment just your lazy attempt to win the debate by simply asserting that what happens in fiction would happen in reality?

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

    @ Alan

    Get real? How about you get real.

    Many doctors (like every other profession) throw away their careers every year buy doing something illegal/unethical/stupid so let’s not pretend doctors are magical angels who only “do no harm”. My wife is a doctor and is regularly surprised by the bad decisions some of her colleagues make.

    Every day doctors sign off 50 abortions in New Zealand for women who apparently will die or have serious mental suffering from having a baby. Please. Do you really believe this?

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  29. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    jims_whare (197) Says:

    “…It is no wonder that many young people in NZ have no direction in life…”

    And I bet the advocates for euthanasia would be the very same people who are formenting the government’s anti suicide policy for youth – the usual busy-bodies.

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

    @ Alan

    “Well, it is certainly a necessary prerequisite – frequently broken by “anti-abortionists” as soon as their own family is actually in the hot seat.”

    WTF?

    I didn’t realise you knew about the personal lives of all the anti-abortionists throughout the land.

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

    @ Dick

    The Brave New World comment was not in response to your comment. It’s a good read though. It shows what could happen if society becomes focused on the the material, the pleasurable, and the utilitarian. No, true, it doesn’t have to become the reality for NZ, but nothing gives me the confidence to say it won’t.

    With regard to your “bible” comment. I was trying to show how your prejudgment may be affecting you ability to discuss this topic rationally.

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  32. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    EWS: Many doctors (like every other profession) throw away their careers every year buy doing something illegal/unethical/stupid so let’s not pretend doctors are magical angels who only “do no harm”.

    How many?

    Every day doctors sign off 50 abortions in New Zealand for women who apparently will die or have serious mental suffering from having a baby. Please. Do you really believe this?

    Do you really believe many women make a decision to have an abortion lightly? You don’t seem to have much respect for them, so why for your wife’s opinion?

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  33. nasska (10,632 comments) says:

    Before God’s little helpers scrape the bottom of the ‘anti free choice on anything’ barrel it’s worth considering that the medical profession will not be queuing up for the chance to bump off Granny on her family’s say so. In fact since they subscribe to the Hippocratic Oath finding doctors prepared to authorise never mind carry out euthanasia may be the stumbling block to any loosening of the criteria.

    BlairM who comments here from time to time had a rare moment of lucidity earlier this week & pointed out that although we may have the right to terminate our own lives we don’t have the same right to demand that others do the job for us.

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  34. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    EWS: “I didn’t realise you knew about the personal lives of all the anti-abortionists throughout the land.”

    In the days when this was a hot issue I was a committee member of ALRANZ and the number of publicly-declared anti-abortionists who resorted to the abortion clinics when a crisis hit their own family was well known.

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

    Just to make it clear, in case people have missed my point.

    The Abortion Supervisory Committee was set up to regulate the doctors that could approve abortions – abortions that could only be done “in certain circumstances; not for anyone who just wants one on demand”. 40 years later, the ASC is a joke and the courts have suggested it may be operating unlawfully. 16,000 abortion a year would suggest this could be true.

    Now, in 2012, we have a lobby to set up some sort of system to allow euthanasia “in certain circumstances; not just for anyone who just wants one on demand”. I contend that these procedures will be carried out behind closed doors and will, in the end, have the same shoddy oversight that we have with the Abortion Supervisory Committee. Why should I believe otherwise?

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  36. big bruv (13,228 comments) says:

    East Wellington Superhero

    “And now we have 16,000 abortions per year.”

    Given the number of feral kids being born to feral parents I would suggest that the number of abortions is not high enough.

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  37. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    Legalised euthanasia will put pressure on people for a number of reasons. For example, family members who may gain from a person’s will may wish to speed along the death of someone in the family. And the most vulnerable will be on the defensive. The entire class of the elderly, terminally ill and disabled people, -

    “would be forced to justify their own continued existence, and this at the most vulnerable time in their lives.”

    Indeed, that is one of the most troublesome aspects of legalized euthanasia: it puts a great burden on people to have to justify their existence. Many will feel guilty about simply existing. And all sorts of guilt trips are already out there-

    we are overpopulated; there are too few hospital beds; the infirm should make way for the fit, and so on.

    If you legalise euthanasia, if you institutionalise the concept that people SHOULD BE WEIGHING UP the pros and cons of their own existence, that pressure is inevitably going to follow.

    Giving depressed young people an easy way out is simply unthinkable, given our very high rates of youth suicide. Indeed, some euthanasia advocates would only compound the problems. Consider the proposal by Dr Philip Nitschke to allow anyone, including troubled teens, to get access to suicide pills.

    And we should be able to pick them up in supermarkets! In an interview he said this: “This would mean that the so-called ‘peaceful pill’ should be available in the supermarket so that those old enough to UNDERSTAND DEATH could obtain death peacefully at the time of their choosing.”

    In America there are 31,000 suicides annually, of which only 2 to 4 per cent are by people who are terminally ill. With suicide such a pressing problem throughout the Western world, we dare not go down the path of legalized euthanasia, and further compound these massive social problems.

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

    @ Alan

    “Do you really believe many women make a decision to have an abortion lightly? You don’t seem to have much respect for them, so why for your wife’s opinion?”

    Nice tug on the emotional strings, but you’re dodging the issue. Regardless of whether women do or do not take it seriously, it has no bearing on my point around the folly of thinking some ‘system’ will ensure nothing dodgy happens.

    Also, the hypocrisy of some anti-abortion identities still has nothing to do with whether it’s right or wrong. I guess they were hypocrites. So what?

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

    @ nasska

    “In fact since they subscribe to the Hippocratic Oath finding doctors prepared to authorise never mind carry out euthanasia may be the stumbling block to any loosening of the criteria.”

    Like we see with abortion?

    The Oath is not binding. At the end of the day, if the Medical Council is happy with it (eg abortion) then doctors won’t get in trouble for carrying out the procedure.

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  40. Inky_the_Red (734 comments) says:

    The place to start in improving the lives of those in pain, before any euthanasia law change, you need to improve the quality of palliative care. Once that is fixed then we can think about euthanasia.

    My thoughts are that euthanasia should be very rare when proper palliative is in pace for all New Zealanders. And in any system of euthanasia then an investigation needs to happen after the death (through euthanasia).

    I would not be comfortable to live in a society where the old (or portions of the aged populace) think it is their duty to die so they not a burden on families or community.

    However any euthanasia debate should only start when the quality of palliative care is greatly improved from the current level.

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

    I have to go. My wife needs some help getting ready for her night shift to save lives. Not take them.

    She will be dealing with some people who are sick and old, and some with parents who openly bemoan the cost of caring for their parents in old age. But of course they’d never want hurry up their passing. That would just be wrong wouldn’t it…?

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  42. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    EWS: Regardless of whether women do or do not take it seriously, it has no bearing on my point around the folly of thinking some ‘system’ will ensure nothing dodgy happens.

    False comparison. Dodgy things happen in every sphere of life. The test is only whether they will be exposed and managed adequately.

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  43. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    As EWS says, you only have to look at abortion to see what is going to happen. When abortion was legalized, we were told it would only be used in extreme cases. It would be taken very seriously indeed. Now it’s pretty much ho-hum, and anyone can get it on demand most of the time.

    No one seems to learn from history.

    The argument for euthanasia may be couched in noble language and some of the intent may be for genuine good, but if it were to be legalized, it would soon become a practical tool for getting rid of the unwanted.

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  44. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Fletch: When abortion was legalized, we were told it would only be used in extreme cases. It would be taken very seriously indeed. Now it’s pretty much ho-hum, and anyone can get it on demand most of the time.

    Actually you were told it was never going to work as claimed by the politicians trying to placate the above religious nutters, nor could it since NZ women could and did simply go to Australia when denied here. And it never did from the start. There was no slow slide but the revolution which had already happened and forced the law change merely continued.

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  45. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    Doctors are now being asked to add killing to their job description.

    “….Without the help of these individuals, and “the destruction of the boundary between healing and killing,” the Nazi death machine would have been less likely to succeed. Sadism and viciousness alone cannot account for what happened – what was needed was a “bureaucracy of killing”….” -Robert Jay Lifton, writing in The Nazi Doctors (1986)

    Lifton carefully traces the complicity of the medical community in the Nazi program. He says that at the heart of their involvement was “the transformation of the physician – of the medical enterprise itself – from healer to killer”.

    “Nazi genocide did not take place in a vacuum, as it was a very real continuum between the German euthanasia program – aided and abetted by the medical community – and the Final Solution.

    Auschwitz was only the last, most perfect Nazi killing center. The entire killing enterprise had started in January 1940 with the murder of the most helpless human beings, institutionalized handicapped patients, had expanded in 1941 to include Jews and Gypsies, and had by 1945 cost the lives of at least 6 million men, women, and children.

    The general case being that “the ‘euthanasia’ programme and the Holocaust are intimately related”.

    But more specifically his book “is an attempt to study the relationship between psychiatric reform, eugenics and government cost-cutting policies during the Weimar Republic and Nazi periods”. He documents how such eugenics programs had been widely advanced long before the Nazis came to power.

    “Those responsible believed in the necessity of what they were doing.”He discovered that for those doctors and other non-medical professionals involved, they formed a vital and necessary step to wholesale genocide.-

    Some five hundred pages are given over to documenting the Nazi doctors. “In sum,” he says,-

    “we may say that doctors were given much of the responsibility for the murderous ecology of Auschwitz – the choosing of victims, the carrying through of the physical and psychological mechanics of killing, and the balancing of killing and work functions in the camp.”

    These and other studies make it quite clear that when medicine moves from its role of healing to a role of killing, such atrocities as what took place 70 years ago are not hard to understand, and are likely to recur. And sadly we have the same temptation today-

    Doctors are now being asked to add killing to their job description.

    As has been said so many times before, we must all learn from the lessons of history, or we will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of history.

    .

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  46. Peter (1,578 comments) says:

    Should we let people who are going through depression exercise their ‘choice’? Should we let older New Zealanders that are neglected by their children exercise their ‘choice’?

    So long as they are terminally ill, and will die regardless, yes.

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  47. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson, I meant in general – when the idea for legalization of abortion was first proposed overseas in the 1960s(?). I wasn’t trying to give an example of NZ locally.

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  48. Peter (1,578 comments) says:

    However it legitimises and makes it acceptable in society that if you aren’t happy with your life, and feel in lots of pain (physical emotional??) then your docs can give you a jab and you’re gone.

    If you don’t like it, don’t do it. If others wish to do so, under supervision and with various checks and balances, then it is absolutely none of your business.

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  49. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Harriet, managing death has been part of a doctor’s job description for ever. Prolonging life beyond the point of tolerable quality of life is the recent change which, along with State control of drugs, has brought euthanasia into the picture.

    When the State restricts an individual’s right to access drugs it then has responsibility for meeting the individual’s needs in all circumstances. Since doctors are gatekeepers to the pharmacy they cannot avoid responsibility for managing death as well as life. Otherwise get out of the way.

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  50. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Fletch, the battle was fought (and won) by the 1960s feminist movement. Their demand was for control of their bodies. The religious demanded the State control their bodies. There was never any consensus, nor could there be since it is a straight power struggle. The politicians sought a compromise that could be interpreted in ways that satisfied both parties. The compromise was a law that apparently enforced State control but in practice gave women control. Completely hypocritical and unnecessarily costly but a politically necessary fig-leaf to satisfy above religious nutters.

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  51. nasska (10,632 comments) says:

    Would it make any difference to the ‘anti’ brigade’ represented here if the final act had to be taken by the patient him/herself?

    In other words, once someone was declared as terminally ill & sane, the means for that person to end their life by their own actions could be provided without anyone being held criminally libel for aiding & abetting. There is a world of difference between assisted suicide & euthanasia.

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  52. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    The religious demanded the State control their bodies.

    Really? I have always contended that on balance of an unborn’s right to life and a womans right to control her body that the law should support the most vulnerable. Quite a reasonable position I should have thought. Instead the state re-defined ‘life’ and today millions of beating hearts are silenced because of that shifting of the goal posts.

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  53. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    nasska, I agree that would be a big step forward and cover most cases.

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  54. Nostalgia-NZ (4,904 comments) says:

    Some punters continually use the ‘slippery slope’ argument, and that of families suddenly having the opportunity to get their hands on the proceeds of wills and so on, but where is the proof of that? As I’ve written before the subject is deeply personal, of personal choice finally. There was an argument in my family over an estate before my father died, by then there was a POA involved and despite my father’s wishes an effort to sell his home that was no longer in his hands. In fact whether he was alive or dead his assets could legally be disposed of, his life wasn’t at risk from them. In another type of situation my mother was deep in dementia and suffering painfully from cancer for many years, there was nothing for anyone else alive to gain or lose from her death other than a rather stretched comfort she was still alive. Others here will have experienced or know that it becomes increasingly difficult for some to visit love ones in homes as they deteriorate because it is a difficult reality to face. I should say here, if my consent had of been needed for my mother’s death to be assisted, I’m unsure of what I may have decided – but certainly taking some time would have been important, despite that she was by then blind and had not spoken for years.

    I think that difficult reality makes part of the argument against euthanasia, not wanting or having difficulty in facing up. That also is very personal but the idea that there are hordes abroad with the hope of being able to be poised to profit from the premature deaths of someone in our families is emotive hysteria. I have a couple of aged relatives of poor health in my extended family whose direct family hold onto with great love and amazing commitment because that is their way despite what the law might say in the future. The argument against euthanasia because of the ‘slippery slope’ burdens clarity, assumes worse of others from a fear of the accusers. It also restricts personal choice that isn’t even decided or might never be, in circumstances that are yet to arrive. When my friend Ian’s family abided by his wish that he not be resuscitated I was uncomfortable with that, and at first, how they seemed un-bothered by the fact he could have been kept alive as we spent the last days of his life with him in hospital.

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  55. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Would it make any difference to the ‘anti’ brigade’ represented here if the final act had to be taken by the patient him/herself?

    In a word, yes, but only slightly. My enduring concern is the prospect of family and/or state concern about the cost of sustaining a life starting to infiltrate policy

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  56. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    Alan

    “…along with state control of drugs….When the State restricts an individual’s right to access drugs….Since doctors are gatekeepers to the pharmacy they cannot avoid responsibility for managing death as well as life. Otherwise get out of the way.
    …”

    Arn’t you an advocate for people spending their OWN money ?

    Just because the government DOESN’T provide drugs or subsidise them – does not make a case for euthanasia.

    If the availability of particular drugs is of concern, and/or where the government ‘forbids’ the use of those drugs, then wouldn’t the answer be to advocate government for supply and usage ?

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  57. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson, and yet, the baby is not the “woman’s body” at all. It has a DNA unique to itself which does not change throughout it’s life, and is in fact an independent life form. Yes, it is dependent on it’s mother to survive, but so is it after it is born – the mother has to feed, change, bath, burp, and a million other things mothers do.

    This thing that it’s all about a mother’s body is complete bullshit to me.

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  58. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    kk, yes, really. That is exactly what you are demanding though you try to obscure it.

    The law should support the most vulnerable. So it should ensure everyone in the world has the same income and assets? No? So there is actually a line to be drawn that cannot be based on simplistic slogans.

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  59. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    KK

    “….Instead the state re-defined ‘life’…”

    No they didn’t…..the State and the likes of Alan -along with I might add, Mary and Joseph -believe that life does not start at conception….. :)

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  60. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Fletch: This thing that it’s all about a mother’s body is complete bullshit to me.

    It probably wouldn’t be if you were a woman.

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  61. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,194) Says

    “…satisfy above religious nutters….”

    and those suffering from dementia. :)

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  62. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    As EWS says, you only have to look at abortion to see what is going to happen. When abortion was legalized, we were told it would only be used in extreme cases. It would be taken very seriously indeed. Now it’s pretty much ho-hum, and anyone can get it on demand most of the time.

    If, for some unfathomable reason, you imagine you aren’t raising this simply as a red herring to avoid having to address the issue, can you establish its relevance by pointing out instances of women made to undergo abortions by their families or doctors since the CSA Act?

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  63. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    ps, women have always had “control of their own bodies”. Always.

    What they didn’t always have control over was their own urges and desires in regard to those bodies. It is the same today. They can choose to have sex or not to have sex. It is that simple. You can’t blame a body for biologically functioning the way it is supposed to do, ie, getting pregnant. That is nature.

    What you’re really saying, is that feminists wanted an escape route for lack of control of their desires, by means of wiping out or destroying the evidence of what they’d done. What that entails is killing the unborn child.

    Simple.

    It’s refreshing to hear the truth told, ey?

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  64. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    The euthanasia debate seems to be pumping the numbers.

    What a surprise! :)

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  65. nasska (10,632 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ

    Agreed…..watching one of your own going through the steps of death brings rare emotions to the surface. My brother & I are watching my mother’s end from rapid onset dementia. She is in her 90′s, lived a full life & not in pain but in her occasional brief coherent moments pleads to be ‘let go’ as to her the degradation she feels at being helpless & incontinent torments her. She is under highly competent care & we can only hope that she is spared from aggressive medical intervention when the body starts to shut down.

    Even now, had I control of a magic on/off switch I don’t think I could use it…..the essential difference is that she is physically comfortable. Having recently watched an old friend die from cancer surrounded by a genuinely loving family who, selfishly in my opinion, fought against anything that might give him comfort but hasten the end gives another side of the picture.

    If my end is drawn out by some do gooding religious nutter I’ll curse them from the grave.

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  66. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Harriet: If the availability of particular drugs is of concern, and/or where the government ‘forbids’ the use of those drugs, then wouldn’t the answer be to advocate government for supply and usage ?

    I’m not clear on what you mean, but if it’s along the lines of nasska at 3:04 I would agree.

    Fletch, no, I’m saying women want to have control of their fertility. So do you.

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  67. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    Indeed, a majority of IVF treatments are for women over the age of 35. Having deliberately put off having children in order to reap the financial rewards of a career, many of these women now expect the taxpayer to subsidise their choices by paying for their IVF treatment. This is simply unacceptable from a moral point of view. Women who choose to make their own fertility difficult or impossible should not expect society to pick up the bill for their bad choices.

    Recently some Monash academics echoed these concerns and said that women are using IVF as a “Band-Aid” for so-called social infertility. By delaying child-bearing because of social pressures, these women were creating a financial burden for the community and fuelling an entire medical industry.

    But the burden to the rest of society may not match the burdens they place on themselves. Having bought the lie that a career will solve all their problems and provide them complete contentment and fulfilment, they eventually realise it has all been a sham and an empty promise.

    Perhaps the authorities will consider them a useful adoptive parent. Perhaps their nieces and nephews will be spoilt for love.

    But for most people, the final years of life are all about immediate family. Their old age could well be miserable. Euthanasia ?

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  68. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    Sorry Alan, I presumed when you meant ‘state control of drugs’ you meant the control of exspensive drugs that were available overseas, but which arn’t available to the public under the subsidised medicines scheme here.

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  69. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Harriet at 3:54, very true. Though I’m not sure how much IVF is subsidised now? I know people who have spent a lot of their own money on it. But also there is a big social split between those having lots of children young and those having few or none late. And it doesn’t augur well for an educated and productive future population.

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  70. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Harriet at 4.00, no, I meant the individual can only access drugs via doctors’ prescription and therefore is barred from self-medicated euthanasia.

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  71. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    Having deliberately put off having children in order to reap the financial rewards of a career, many of these women now expect the taxpayer to subsidise their choices by paying for their IVF treatment.

    Sorry, I missed one earlier. Confused thinking, red herrings and completely irrelevant brain farts is what conservatives bring to this debate.

    ps, women have always had “control of their own bodies”. Always.

    Well, except when slavery was legal. And when rape within marriage was legal. And…

    It’s refreshing to hear the truth told, ey?

    It’s depressing to hear conservative canards rolled out because their personal hobby horse trumps whatever the thread’s actually about, eh?

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  72. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    Those women who abort becoming the self aborted in old age…. now that’s feminism for ya !

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  73. iMP (2,232 comments) says:

    This issue has been before our parliament about 3 times over the last 15 years or so and rejected three times, soundly. How often do we have to re-debate all this? same issues, over and over.

    Humans being what they, there is no safe euthanasia, which quickly turns into a “duty to die”. Holland who first experimented with this, found that out.

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  74. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Harriet, I don’t think you can equate career women with feminism though of course there are some notable examples. And I suspect that the “cougar” syndrome reaching middle age without a life partner might be a bigger problem.

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  75. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    The euthanasia slippery slope….where women naturally are highly emotional – is it really worth the risk ?

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  76. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    Holland who first experimented with this, found that out.

    Was that Sid, or Harry? I never heard of either of them experimenting with euthanasia.

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  77. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    The euthanasia slippery slope…

    You do know the slippery slope is a logical fallacy, right?

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  78. Aredhel777 (278 comments) says:

    My God, there’s a lot of hatred of religious people in here. It’s almost as bad as the bloody Richard Dawkins forum. You know what, simply because it’s the internet and you cannot see the person face to face does not justify being an arsehole or dismissing arguments made by religious people on the issue of euthanasia out of hand simply because they are religious, or on the basis of what their God did in the Old Testament. Yes, some guy actually brought that up in here! And this isn’t the only thread where Christians get attacked. I’ve only come back to Kiwiblog for two days and I’ve seen a ton of it. Take the other thread on the Conservative Party where they were dismissed by uneducated individuals like The Scorned as ‘religious nutbars’. Because an epithet like that obviously resolves the debate on the merits of the Conservatives’ policies!

    There are many arguments for and against euthanasia, and abortion for that matter. To have an informed and accurate opinion on these matters requires a great deal of thought. And frankly I think that most people here have already reached very strong opinions on euthanasia without reading anything about it or bothering to reflect for a few months. Anti-euthanasia arguments are simply dismissed because they are advanced by religious people. In this environment, I cannot be bothered correcting the logical fallacies which many posters have fallen into in this thread, like the silly notion that by having an abortion women are exercising control over their bodies. You won’t listen.

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  79. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Well said Aredhel.

    When all of you, on both sides of the argument, are spewing up your own shit from your terminal bowel cancer, I will of course be very interested in reading all your musings here! :)

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  80. slijmbal (1,210 comments) says:

    Pm says

    “You do know the slippery slope is a logical fallacy, right?”

    but it’s the only argument the anti euthenesia proponents appear to have. You can’t take it off them. What will they do?

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  81. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Not caught the Liverpool boat then Chuck?

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  82. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > family members who may gain from a person’s will may wish to speed along the death of someone in the family

    Rubbish. The person wanting to be euthanased will have to show that they want to to die (and to be terminally ill) and it will have to be approved by doctors. It’s got nothing to do with family members wanting to profit financially. Why do so many who oppose euthanasia do so on the basis of stupid arguments?

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  83. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > Anti-euthanasia arguments are simply dismissed because they are advanced by religious people.

    Wrong, they are usually dismissed because they are either incoherent, nonsensical or plain crazy. But if you have arguments that are none of these, please feel free to share.

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  84. nasska (10,632 comments) says:

    ross69

    ….”Why do so many who oppose euthanasia do so on the basis of stupid arguments?”…..

    Probably because stupid points are all they have left. Every other argument has been blown out of the water or shown to be religious hocus-pocus.

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  85. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > the silly notion that by having an abortion women are exercising control over their bodies.

    I think you missed a bit – women who are raped should be forced to give birth and to bring up the child.

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  86. Aredhel777 (278 comments) says:

    “Wrong, they are usually dismissed because they are either incoherent, nonsensical or plain crazy. But if you have arguments that are none of these, please feel free to share.”

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/05/the_euthanasia_debate-2.html#comment-964350 << Yeah, posts like that really give off the impression that Dick Prebble came here looking to share reasoned, open-minded opinions. Most people in this thread just seem to want an opportunity to troll.

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  87. Aredhel777 (278 comments) says:

    “I think you missed a bit – women who are raped should be forced to give birth and to bring up the child.” – The point is that the unborn child has an entirely separate body and an entirely separate code of DNA. It is not a matter of exercising autonomy over one’s own body but of killing someone else entirely. That’s why it’s inaccurate to say that women should be able to have abortions because they should have control over their own body.

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  88. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Aredhel, it’s pretty simple. Do I think a woman should get to decide whether to have a baby or you? Guess which I vote for.

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  89. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Aredhel777,

    Just for absolute clarity, are you saying that a woman who is raped must be made to carry and birth the child forced upon her as a direct consequence of that rape?

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  90. Griff (6,716 comments) says:

    “entirely separate body and an entirely separate code of DNA.”

    Is that why when you rip them out they die?
    Women have the right to say who inhabits their body be it a fleeting visit by a penis or 9 months by a embryo
    Only the individual has any right over the choice to live or die Not the state or the church.
    The reason god bothered get shit is they frequently come here and attempt to inflect their wacky closed minded views upon all
    In particular over any hint of homosexuality or freedom of choice

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  91. Aredhel777 (278 comments) says:

    I don’t have a strong opinion on abortion Bhudson. However, I see no reason to distinguish between a woman who has sex with her boyfriend and gets pregnant and wants an abortion, and where a woman has been raped and gets pregnant. If the former is wrong, then the latter is wrong also, because why should a child suffer for the crimes of his or her father? I might also point out that children conceived by rape are a tiny percentage of the huge number who get aborted every day. Most women get abortions because they go out and have casual sex and don’t shoulder some responsibility when they are faced with the consequences (i.e. unwanted children.)

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  92. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    “In particular over any hint of homosexuality or freedom of choice”

    What are you doing later on Big Griff? :)

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  93. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    If the former is wrong, then the latter is wrong also, because why should a child suffer for the crimes of his or her father?

    So you are saying that the woman’s right are subordinate to the unborn child’s (and prior to that the zygote.) And, given the pregnancy was forced upon her by the rapist, presumably also subordinate to the man’s rights.

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  94. Aredhel777 (278 comments) says:

    Well the whole argument advanced by the pro-life movement is that women do not have the “right” to kill their own children. You’re not taking into consideration the child’s interests whatsoever.

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  95. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    ross69

    > family members who may gain from a person’s will may wish to speed along the death of someone in the family

    I’ll put my hand up to that Ross……….infact Ross, BOTH OF THEM.

    “…Rubbish. The person wanting to be euthanased will have to show that they want to to die (and to be terminally ill) and it will have to be approved by doctors. It’s got nothing to do with family members wanting to profit financially….”

    Ross, It’s a ‘right to die’ bill not a government ‘we says who dies’ bill – could you imagine the following election under MMP ?

    “… Why do so many who oppose euthanasia do so on the basis of stupid arguments?…”

    Well ross –

    “We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” – George Orwell

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  96. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    Red Herring wins again!

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  97. Griff (6,716 comments) says:

    Now the lady has returned to the big kahuna leaving me in peace for another week.
    A smoke a Bourbon and coke and KB to share the joke :lol:

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  98. MT_Tinman (2,985 comments) says:

    Working on the fact that I hope someone puts me down when I become useless to anyone (including but not limited to myself) why not allow people while young and mentally stable to state, in writing and duly witnessed, that they do not wish to be kept alive, in fact prefer to be killed when they become too ill or old to contribute to society?

    The only those who do this may be considered for euthanasia.

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

    Who is John Kleinsman?

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  100. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Euthanasia has it’s good points. If we had introduced it say 40 years ago Mr and Mrs Hansen may have done all of us a favour! :)

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  101. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Of course, if we had introduced it say 45 years ago Magpies may have been extinct by now! :)

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  102. nasska (10,632 comments) says:

    Aredhel777

    ….”My God, there’s a lot of hatred of religious people in here.”…..

    Not really, although I’ll concede that occasionally a commenter strays over the line & attacks the messenger instead of the message. If you go through life dictating that other sane, adult people should live their lives in a certain way because of your belief in supernatural beings you have to expect a fair bit of flak. You are free to live your life as you choose but you insist on controlling mine as well.

    In any case I don’t hate religious people. I feel you just need to treat them with kindness and love, the same way you treat a small child running around saying, “I’m a helicopter!”

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

    Johnboy, you just stick to those sheep and goats over at Phil’s place, OK? ;-)

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  104. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    And I thought he was a Vegie Luc! :)

    I’ll be there tomorrow with a selection of weapons!

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  105. Harriet (4,505 comments) says:

    Who’s coming isn’t in the hands of parliment but in the hands of some woman, somewhere, somewhere else.

    So if a women can decide the life of another, why then should the government decide the life of that women, that actual women, somewhere, somewhere else ?

    What do they know about me now that they didn’t know first time round, and why don’t they trust me this time round – said that woman, somewhere, somewhere else?

    See – it ‘s a slippery slope !

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  106. UpandComer (506 comments) says:

    Sounds like a good way to get a lot of short term and medium term depressed/otherwise mentally ill people to kill themselves, for old people to kill themselves, and for chronically sick people to kill themselves. Most people would probably take the pill at some time or another due to a rush of blood. What a stupid, pathetic, ill thought out idea. i’m not down with this.

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  107. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Not really, although I’ll concede that occasionally a commenter strays over the line & attacks the messenger instead of the message

    Hmmm, try being on the receiving end nasska. Being labled a nutter is commonplace around here. Of course it’s trivial and conveys more about the narrow mindedness of the speaker. The only thing that pisses me off is that similarly repetitive ad hominem’s directed at GBLT, Jews, women, Maori, disabled etc would be, and have been pounced on.

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  108. nasska (10,632 comments) says:

    krazykiwi

    GBLT…check, women…check, Maori…check, disabled…check….but I think you may have missed a few.

    I try to abuse all minorities equally. It’s the only fair thing to do.

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  109. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Aredhel: “You’re not taking into consideration the child’s interests whatsoever.”

    I don’t know the (potential) child’s interests and neither do you, but the mother certainly does and makes her decision according to her circumstances and abilities.

    kk: surely you have met some religious nutters? It’s simply descriptive and certainly doesn’t apply to all religious people but there is a significant minority of them who make an awful lot of awful noise and a smaller minority who go around killing people who disagree with them.

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  110. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    Just for absolute clarity, are you saying that a woman who is raped must be made to carry and birth the child forced upon her as a direct consequence of that rape?

    In my experience, people bring up the subject of rape in regard to abortion when they don’t have a solid argument against abortion. These people really want abortion in all cases, but bring up rape as an emotional appeal.

    1) In reality, rape accounts for a very small reason why women have abortion. In the link that follows, data is based on U.S estimates, but still, rape accounts for only 0.1% to 0.6% of the reasons women have abortion.

    A similarly small percentage comes down to incest, health of the mother, health of the baby etc. As can be seen, 98% of the reasons cited for having an abortion comes down to convenience. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html

    2) Has anyone asked the woman who has been raped what she thinks? Well, yes. A book came out a number of years ago called Victims and Victors, which interviewed around 200 women.

    In this compelling book, 192 women reveal the seldom-heard truth: most women who become pregnant through rape or incest don’t want to abort!

    Instead, many of the women in this book are calling for compassion, meaningful support, a chance to heal, and real choices for women like them and their unborn children.

    Based on the largest survey ever done of women who became pregnant through sexual assault, Victims and Victims reveals that:

    * Nearly 80 percent of the women who aborted a pregnancy conceived in sexual assault reported that abortion had been the wrong solution.
    * Most women who had abortions said that abortion only increased the trauma they were experiencing.
    * In many cases, the victim faced strong pressure or demands to abort and in some cases, especially those involving teenage girls, was even forced to have the abortion by others.
    * In cases of incest or ongoing sexual abuse, abortion was frequently used by the perpetrator to cover up the abuse, and in many cases the girl was given an abortion with no questions asked and then returned to the abusive situation.
    * None of the women who gave birth to a child conceived in sexual assault expressed regret or wished they had aborted instead.

    http://www.theunchoice.com/victimsandvictors.htm

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  111. nasska (10,632 comments) says:

    Fletch

    However low the percentage of women who wish to have an abortion, it does not give you the right to dictate that the option should not be available. One area in which you have total freedom is to provide practical support which would assist the woman in her decision.

    I have no idea of what help you extend but from what I’ve seen, God’s little helpers talk the talk far better than they walk the walk.

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  112. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    nasska, actually Bishop Patrick Dunn (the Catholic Bishop of Auckland) has said he will give aid to any woman who needs it, rather than having an abortion. Apparently it is going quite well, the last story I read.

    Bishop’s cash offer brings in mothers

    Dozens more women are seeking help from a Catholic anti-abortion centre since the Church offered them financial help.

    In April, the Catholic Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Patrick Dunn, publicly pledged to give every possible help, including financial aid, to women undecided about the future of their unborn children.

    Since then he has not had to carry out his commitment to personally support any woman deciding to have her baby throughout the child’s life – he believes few women would want that level of help anyway.

    But he has been delighted by a 100 per cent increase in the number of women contacting the Catholic-oriented Family Life Pregnancy Centre, increasing from around three appointments to six a day.

    “I knew if there was a critical need people would respond. We’ve seen a good increase due to the greater publicity – I think word’s really getting around.”

    The initiative followed a similar cash pledge in Britain by the Archbishop of Glasgow, Cardinal Thomas Winning, who claimed that more than 100 women had been encouraged not to have abortions.

    Family planning groups criticised Bishop Dunn’s offer because they felt that women would be pressured into not having abortions.

    The bishop could not say whether any women had decided against abortion directly because of the Church’s pledge.

    He said “thousands” of dollars in donations since the publicity had allowed the centre to rent a four-bedroom house in Balmoral during the past two months for pregnant women needing accommodation. Women, usually in their early 20s, could stay there rent-free if neccessary. Food was also provided.

    Bishop Dunn said migrants without residency often needed the most financial help and about 10 women had stayed in the house so far.

    “We’re there for the long term if that’s what they want, but mostly we’re there to help on a short-term basis. The women don’t want to be in a dependent situation, they want to get on with their own lives.”

    Between June and July, 235 women contacted the centre, up 100 per cent on the same period last year. Of 29 pregnancies, one woman chose abortion and 11 were undecided.

    Bishop Dunn said that if women could not cope long term he recommended adoption “to free themselves up and give the child a chance.”

    A counsellor at the centre, Angela Corbett, believed the pledge had contributed to many women “choosing life” over abortion.

    She said the centre did not promote abortion as an option but always respected a woman’s final decision.

    It also advised women on the help available from Government agencies and was able to offer accommodation and financial help.

    “We wouldn’t expect women to need help, financial or otherwise, from us for more than six months after the baby’s born.

    “It’s not healthy, and they need to be independent.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=147551

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  113. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    Another story –

    The Catholic Bishop of Auckland is rejoicing at the number of babies who have been born since he vowed in March to help women who choose life over abortion.

    At least 72 girls and women chose to become mothers following Bishop Pat Dunn’s public vow.

    “It is small-scale still but it is quite touching … when you actually see a child and the mother will say, ‘I was going to have an abortion.’

    “We are not talking about a cause. We are talking about individuals.”

    Bishop Dunn gave a personal undertaking in March to help any pregnant girl or woman who was undecided about the future of her unborn child.

    “I make this pledge to any woman regardless of creed or circumstances and without any conditions attached,” he said at the time.

    “It … will allow women the right and freedom to choose life instead of death.”

    Bishop Dunn’s offer was attacked by the Auckland Women’s Health Council, which was concerned that women would be pressured by the church.

    It was not appropriate for the church to be involved, the council said.

    But Bishop Dunn said there were times when people needed a hand to overcome crises.

    The director of the Dominion Rd Family Life Pregnancy Centre, Colleen Bayer, said it had received nearly 1000 telephone calls this year from women who thought they were pregnant or who wanted an abortion.

    The centre and Bishop Dunn had worked together.

    Five hundred of the women who called had come to the centre to talk to counsellors.

    The centre had carried out 310 pregnancy tests, of which 125 were positive.

    While 12 women had chosen abortions and 41 had not been heard from again, 72 women chose to have their babies.

    Colleen Bayer said 18 of these women needed continued care, including financial help and practical advice.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=165266

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  114. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    God’s little helpers talk the talk far better than they walk the walk.

    And they’re held to a much higher standard than that accuser would offer of themselves. C’est la vie for 21st century Christians: Soft targets for those unwilling to assail Muslims with the same voicerifenous.

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  115. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Fletch,

    In my experience, people bring up the subject of rape in regard to abortion when they don’t have a solid argument against abortion.

    I guess, then, that your experience must be somewhat limited as I raised the point to illustrate that life and experiences are not ‘black and white’ and neither, therefore, can positions be. It was not an argument against pro-life, nor an argument for pro-choice. It was a simple illustration that the real world faces us with situations that challenge simple, binary decisions and positions.

    Perhaps that was all a little too much for you to grapple with.

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  116. nasska (10,632 comments) says:

    Fletch

    Fair enough & good on them for doing something. It must be said that if you wish to close down the demand for abortions, now is not the time to sit back & say that the work has been done. Only 15000/year to offer the same sort of support to left.

    God speed!

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  117. nasska (10,632 comments) says:

    krazykiwi

    …”Soft targets for those unwilling to assail Muslims with the same voicerifenous.”…..

    But I do.

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  118. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    nasska, fair enough. Equal opportunity abuse attracts a modicum of respect :)

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  119. Griff (6,716 comments) says:

    God freaks should be held to a much “higher”standard they are the ones trying to force a”higher”standard on the rest of us

    Of course when they fall they always fall further

    Remember the demise of the last god freak Cristian party leader

    those without faith get to throw lotsa stones

    Those with god are reminded that to do so they should be without sin

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  120. Aredhel777 (278 comments) says:

    “Of course when they fall they always fall further.”

    Arguable, but irrelevant to this thread. Take your bigoted nonsense elsewhere. And yes, it is bigoted. If any group except Christians were said to be morally inferior to another group, they would be jumped on for prejudice.

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

    But, who is John Kleinsman?

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  122. Elaycee (4,299 comments) says:

    Jeez Luc – stop flying a kite. If you’re really interested, use Google.

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  123. Griff (6,716 comments) says:

    Aredhel777
    No This is not your playground to dictate the bounds of debate
    If you would like to preach go to church
    Christians like to inflict their mindless beliefs on everyone
    witness the stupidity of the Cristian beliefs over the sanctity of life
    and the continual use of the slippery slope fallacy

    When so many wars are fought in the name of god And so many die due to religious intolerance

    So worried about the mote in others eyes that they fail to see the beam in their own
    seems to me most Christians talk the talk
    and few walk the walk

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  124. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    Given that the superstition enthusiasts have successfully derailed yet another thread onto one of their favourite hobby horses (abortion this time, not that it’s any more relevant to the post than the other favourite, sodomy, would have been ), are you really surprised that people don’t bother being polite?

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  125. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    PM, abortion and euthanasia are both sides of the same coin. It’s about the very beginning or the very end of life, and whether it’s OK to purposely take a life. I see the discussions as being inextricably linked. We can look to the legalization of abortion to see what is likely to happen with the other; the effects and outcomes etc.

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  126. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    Of course, whether we like it or not, euthanasia will eventually come, thanks to our liberal society.

    My elderly mother was musing just the other day; saying that the things the Nazis were doing – the things we fought against – the ideas of eugenics; euthanasia, etc – now we are adopting them ourselves. The things the once horrified us are now creeping slowly into society and gaining acceptance. It happens so slowly and imperceptibly that we almost don’t even notice, until one day we are living in that Brave New World.

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  127. Don the Kiwi (1,587 comments) says:

    Shit Griff.

    Still spilling your mindless vitriol.
    You must be very lonely in your life – 50% of the country say they are Christian. Do you know if any of your mates are Christian or not?

    And actually, very few wars are fought in the name of God – most wars are fought because of a few men’s greed – God is a convenient excuse.

    But that’s okay, keep driblling on – you really demonstrate your lack of cogent thought.

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  128. Griff (6,716 comments) says:

    Allah akabar
    Same god different sect
    any wars you know of where this would be a refrain?
    In god we trust The official motto of which bunch of warmongering nut jobs?
    50% and declining at the present rate of decline Christianity will be extinct by the end of the century in new Zealand.
    Terminal decline and a long slow agonizing death
    good candidate for euthanasia

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  129. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    Griff, as Don says, the most people that have been killed in history have been killed via atheist regimes.

    China under Mao Tse Tung, 26.3 million Chinese [killed]. According the Walker Report, 63.7 million over the whole period of time of the Communist revolution in China. Solzhenitsyn says the Soviet Union put to death 66.7 million people. Kampuchea destroyed one third of their entire population of eight million Cambodians. The Chinese at two different times in medieval history, somewhere in the vicinity of 35 million and 40 million people. Ladies and gentlemen, make note that these deaths were the result of organizations or points of view or ideologies that had left God out of the equation. None of these involve religion. And all but the very last actually assert atheism.

    It is true that it’s possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the detail it produces evil because the individual people are actually living in a rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it can produce it, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We’re talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God.

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  130. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    As a History Professor at a Junior college I challenge my classes to comment on the following statement:

    Organized religion has caused more suffering, wars and violence than any other cause.

    Almost all the students raise their hands in agreement. I then demand that they provide dead bodies as evidence. They usually mention the Crusades and one or two other religious wars they might have heard of but in none of their examples can they come up with a million deaths. (Some scholars used to teach that the Thirty Years’ War in Germany resulted in 8 million deaths, but modern scholars have demonstrated it was more like 200 thousand and in fact the population of Germany actually increased during that war.) I then point out that most of the people who have died as a result of war, have done so in the Twentieth Century and that most of the killing was done in the name of secular ideologies. I then ask them who is the “baddest” of them all. Most guess Hitler. I then tell them that he is rated #3. Some then guess Stalin and I inform them that most scholars place him at #2 with 20 million killed. Almost no one gets #1 who, of course, is Mao who starts with an estimated 40 million. I then point out that the top two were Communists and Hitler was a radical proponent of Social Darwinism. All of these ideologies are based on atheistic systems.

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  131. eszett (2,332 comments) says:

    All of these ideologies are based on atheistic systems.

    That is just complete and utter bollocks, grand bullshit first class propagated by religious nutbars like yourself, just to trying and hide the atrocities that were committed in the name of religion, particularly your religion.

    None of these regimes were based on atheism or an atheistic system.
    Mao,Stalin and Hitler had more in common with a religious dogamtic system than anything else:
    Totalitarian, one glorious leader, one dogma, unquestionable, infallible, surrendering of all privacy and individuality, tribalism, the idea that a group of people (unbelievers / critics of the state) are free to be prosecuted and magrinalised, etc, etc. Sounds familiar?

    And one thing these regimes also all had in very much common with religion was their abhorrence of reason and logic whenever these threatened their dogma.

    And never mind that the Hitler was not just a Catholic and made hundreds references to God in Mein Kampf, but also utilised the hundreds of years of prosecution, discrimination and prejudice against Jews propagated by the christians. It was good, every day, church-going catholic and protestant Germans who rounded up Jews, Homosexuals, Gypsies, Communist and happily marched them into gas chambers and death camps.

    So please, spare us your bullshit of how these regimes were “atheistic systems”.

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  132. iMP (2,232 comments) says:

    Griff (1,918) Says:…When so many wars are fought in the name of god And so many die due to religious intolerance…

    Gee, I didn’t know Genghis Khan, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, and Josef Stalin were all Christians. Silly me.

    Naughty religious people!

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  133. Mark (1,360 comments) says:

    Why not give the abortion oversight committee the role of overseeing euthanasia as they have fuck all to do now. We can call it the life termination oversight committee.

    It is predictable that those with no cogent argument on this issue revert to abusing the anti euthanasia group of being religious nutters. The reason fear however is that within a very short time this law will create an expectation on the elderly as abortion on demand creates an expectation on young girls who have become pregnant when the do not want to be.

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  134. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    PM, abortion and euthanasia are both sides of the same coin. It’s about the very beginning or the very end of life, and whether it’s OK to purposely take a life.

    Not so. Abortion is just a false analogy conservative Christians like to introduce to the debate. Their analogy is as follows:

    1. Abortion was made available through a ridiculous compromise that allowed it only to protect the mental health of the mother. Women and their doctors have used the opening presented and we now have abortion pretty much on demand.
    2. Therefore, if we make a siimilar opening for euthanasia, before long we’ll have families and their doctors, or even the state, killing off the unwanted.

    It’s an obviously, stupidly false analogy. Have some women made use of the SCA Act to have abortions? Yes. Would some of the terminally ill make use of a voluntary euthanasia Act to end their lives? Yes. Has the CSA Act meant women’s families, doctors or the state make them have abortions for family, doctor or state convenience? No. Would a voluntary euthanasia Act mean the same for the terminally ill? Well, not if the example of abortion law reform is anything to go by.

    It’s a false analogy beloved of confused thinkers. You’re peddling it on this thread because it’s a personal hobby horse, not because it has any light to shed on the subject. If you have some actual, genuine reason why people should be deprived of the right to choose the circumstances of their death, do present it. Red herrings are not so welcome.

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  135. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    It is predictable that those with no cogent argument on this issue revert to abusing the anti euthanasia group of being religious nutters. The reason fear however is that within a very short time this law will create an expectation on the elderly as abortion on demand creates an expectation on young girls who have become pregnant when the do not want to be.

    If that’s your idea of a “cogent argument,” I’m not surprised you aren’t seeing any from the other side. Here’s a cogent argument:
    1. The citizen owns his own life.
    2. The state does not.
    3. Therefore, the state should not criminalise a citizen who assists a fellow citizen with the disposal of his own life.

    What you have for a “cogent argument” is a false analogy and various examples of the slippery-slope logical fallacy. Don’t expect others to take you seriously.

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  136. Fletch (6,013 comments) says:

    None of these regimes were based on atheism or an atheistic system.
    Mao,Stalin and Hitler had more in common with a religious dogamtic system than anything else:
    Totalitarian, one glorious leader, one dogma, unquestionable, infallible, surrendering of all privacy and individuality, tribalism, the idea that a group of people (unbelievers / critics of the state) are free to be prosecuted and magrinalised, etc, etc. Sounds familiar?

    eszett, well you’d be the only ‘historian’ who thinks that, but think it if it makes you feel better.

    You’re simply WRONG.

    If you look at what you’re saying, you’re saying that EVERY totalitarian regime with a dictatorial leader is religious. Is that it? Just because it has a leader and follows your idea of how the Church is organised. Isn’t every organisation built from the top down?
    I call bullshit. In the examples I’ve given of Mao, Stalin, etc, I do not believe any were based on religion.

    I’ve never seen you say anything so silly.

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  137. Mark (1,360 comments) says:

    Phsyco Milt: so its (abortion/euthanasia) a stupidly false analogy because you say so. FFS what crap.

    At the time the abortion legislation was enacted it was not a compromise that was intended to provide for abortion on demand by stealth. It evolved into abortion on demand because the medical profession and Abortion Supervisory Committee decided that is what should happen. 40 odd years ago when the abortion legislation was enacted Abortion on demand was not envisaged nor voted on. In fact the abortion legislation specifically build in safeguards against abortion on demand requiring that doctors sign off that the life or mental health of the mother would be seriously at risk without the abortion.

    Now if we accept that societal views have changed a great deal since that time, still governments do not have the courage to openly canvas or debate the issue of abortion on demand because of the divisiveness of the issue. I suggest that it might not be a slam dunk that the legislation would get through the house or that a referendum on the issue would provide the definitive response in favour that you seem to think is the correct answer. So yes it was a progressive and slippery slope to abortion on demand in NZ not brought about by any public debate but by the internal machination of the medical profession.

    Leap forward to the supposed safeguards for Euthanasia. We leave it to the medical profession and some quasi government supervisory group to determine the interpretation of the legislation and its so called safeguards and you have immediately opened the door too the same sort of interpretive progression.

    Lets look at your rights over your life. Your 85 with a debilitating terminal illness and don’t want to have to endure the pain and indignity. You ask for help from your dr to end the suffering. Your 85, don’t see the point but are otherwise healthy so you think its a good time to go. If you are then 85 and people keep telling you there is little point to your existence so you finally cave in to persuasion. How long before we progress from 1 only to 3 or under your scenario does not not really matter.

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  138. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    Well, it’s not “because I say so,” is it? I explained why it’s a false analogy in my 6.42 comment, so you’re not being asked to take my word for it, you’re being presented with a case for its falsity and if you reject that case you’re free to argue against it.

    Which you are doing. As near as I can manage, it can be summed up as:

    1. The CSA Act didn’t allow for abortion on demand and put ethical oversight in the hands of the medical profession.
    2. Over time, lack of interest by the medical profession in abiding by the legislation has led to abortion on demand.
    3. That was a “slippery slope” effect.
    4. It is therefore reasonable to assume a similar slippery slope effect would arise from euthanasia legislation, resulting in your proposed likely outcome of old people encountering social pressure to end their lives.

    The analogy fails because there’s no slope for euthanasia to go down. Here’s the difference:

    1. In the abortion example, large numbers of women over time want abortions, they regard this as their natural, moral right, and large numbers of doctors agree with them. There’s your slope – leave the doctors in charge, and after a while women will be getting abortions if they want them.

    2. In the euthanasia example, we don’t have large numbers of people with the firm conviction they have a moral right to end the lives of aged family members (or strangers for that matter) and I suspect no doctors at all who would agree with them. Further, there would be no legislative “loophole” to be exploited – procuring another’s murder would remain a serious crime punishable with a lengthy prison sentence.

    I agree that people can be subject to unwelcome social pressure to do things that aren’t in their interests, but that’s not something that legislation can really be expected to do anything about. What you’re asking is that some citizens be criminalised and face serious jail time for doing the right thing by a friend or family member, and that those friends and family members be made to continue enduring suffering, misery and humiliation they’d rather not endure, for the sake of avoiding a “what-if” that couldn’t be prevented by legislation in any case. It’s not a compelling argument.

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  139. eszett (2,332 comments) says:

    No Fletch, what I am saying is that Stalin and Mao and other totalitarian systems establish themselves as a “state religion”. Organisied religion resembles totalitarian structures: the cult of personality, only one truth, the tribalism on being insiders and outsiders, etc.

    None of the systems were atheistic or based in atheism, but they were power structures to keep themselves and only themselves in power. Stalin didn’t kill people because he had no religion, he killed people because they were a threat to his power. And he killed them regardless of what they believed in or not believed in.

    I see that you quickly dropped Hitler from your list as you don’t have a leg to stand on with him.

    If anything is silly, then it is your comparison to “any organisation”. It shows how little you are actually willing to think about this subject and just blindly follow your convenient dogma of “Stalin and Mao were atheistic regimes and far worse than anything christians have done”

    Anyway, this is not a religion thread, some other time maybe. I just can’t let such religious bullshit stand unchallenged.

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