Euthanasia legalised by Canadian court

June 22nd, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Bob McCoskrie reports:

 The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that Canada’s ban on assisted suicide is unconstitutional. Justice Lynn Smith issued a 395-page ruling in the Carter v. Canada case Friday morning, determining that the ban discriminates against the disabled. The Prevention Coalition, which intervened in the case, immediately urged the Crown to appeal Smith’s decision to the BC Court of Appeal and to seek an order that stays the effect of the decision until such time as that appeal is heard. Given that suicide is legal in Canada, Justice Smith argues that the ban violates the equality provision in section 15 of Canada’s Charter because it prevents the disabled from getting the help they may need to kill themselves. The case centres on Gloria Taylor, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS in 2009. Taylor says she does not currently wish to kill herself, but wants to have assurance that she could receive help to commit suicide in future. Justice Smith argues that the ban “perpetuates disadvantage” because it “is felt particularly acutely by persons such as Ms. Taylor, who are grievously and irremediably ill, physically disabled or soon to become so, mentally competent and who wish to have some control over their circumstances at the end of their lives.” Ironically, Justice Smith also argues that the ban violates the right to life under section 7 of the Charter because it could lead someone to commit suicide earlier than they might otherwise, while they are still physically able to do it themselves.

I think the court is absolutely right. Our current laws do mean people commit suicide before they might otherwise. Read Rodney Hide’s speech here for a sad example. An extract:

I want to raise a memory of a man whom many members knew—Martin Hames, who died last year on 8 August. If Mr Brown’s bill had been the law, Martin Hames would still be with us, I am sure. He would not have needed to take his own life, as he did. He had Huntington’s disease. He discovered in 1979 that his mother had it. He did not marry, because he had a 50 percent chance of getting it, and he was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. He had watched his mother die a terrible death—a death where one loses one’s mind and loses control, to the extent that one cannot swallow.

Martin Hames loved life. He loved independence. He could not stand the thought of ending without the ability to swallow. Last year he prepared everything. He swallowed a whole lot of pills and he passed out. He had bought new pyjamas, and he had a note pinned to his chest saying “Please do not resuscitate”. The ambulance came, and they resuscitated him. He came to in hospital, and they said to Martin Hames that he had septicaemia in his legs and they wanted to take them off. He said: “What would happen if you don’t take my legs off?”, and they said: “You will die.” He said: “Well, good, because I have Huntington’s disease.”

They gave him some pain relief and pushed him off to the side in Wellington Hospital, and he spent the day dying. I dreaded going to see Martin Hames and saying goodbye to a very special friend, but one of the greatest things I have ever done is seeing a man dying with dignity. He told me, when I went in there, and he told all his friends—from Treasury, from Michael Cullen’s office, people from across the political spectrum who had worked with him, and from the National Party—that he was having a good death. He used to call me “Boss”, and he said: “I’m having a good death, Boss, because I didn’t think I’d get the opportunity to say goodbye to all my friends.” He had that chance.

A sad end, which was avoidable.

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124 Responses to “Euthanasia legalised by Canadian court”

  1. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    But surely the question is whether it is appropriate for the aspiring enlightened despots on the bench to interpret their remit so widely as to overrule the democratic will of the people on what is a contentious moral issue?

    Thankfully, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a mostly odious document, contains a notwithstanding clause that protects Parliamentary Sovereignty should the Tories – who are thankfully actually conservative – choose to override this would-be philospher-king.

    [DPF: I agree it is better to have legislatures decide issues like this. The Canadian Govt has never used the notwithstanding clause IIRC, so I doubt they will start now]

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  2. kowtow (7,645 comments) says:

    Equal rights to kill ourselves,well who’d a ever thought?

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  3. iMP (2,245 comments) says:

    This is a tragedy. Palliative care is so sophisticated now, there is no need to do this to your family, friends and loved ones.
    Suicide is not a victimless act.

    [DPF: Pallative care has no bearing in the case cited by Rodney Hide]

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  4. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    The trouble with legislating for euthanasia and setting conditions for assisted suicide is the legislative maximum becomes the ethical and moral minimum for far to many people. Does Granny tick all the boxes? Yes? Then on goes the pressure to get rid of her before all the inheritance is spent on rest home care. Granny, of course, will get talked around eventually because she just wants what is best for her children and grandchildren.

    There are some things for which legislation can never provide a satisfactory formula, and assisted suicide or euthanasia is one of them. Above all, the state has to uphold the primacy of the sanctity of life and the principle that no one – not the state, not the family, not even yourself – has a legal right to end it (I am of course excluding the states exclusive right to legal violence here).

    Life isn’t always fair, and death is an uneven, cruel and capricious partner to life. But that is the penalty we pay for the miracle of being born at all. Sometimes that penalty means some of us will die lingering deaths that we don’t want or deserve. Sometimes that will mean that some of us take our lives some time before perhaps we should have. But better than that than having a check list to turn Granny into Solyent Green.

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  5. nasska (10,688 comments) says:

    kowtow

    Slowly but surely the right of the God botherers to dictate the terms of death, even for non believers, is being whittled away. Thanks to decisions such as this there will come a time when atheists won’t have to die in agony cursing the influence of Holy water & pixie dust.

    At this rate in another few short years your Church’s control will be limited to interfering in only the lives of its own adherents.

    Bummer!

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  6. Mark (1,366 comments) says:

    In isolated cases there is a valid argument as there was with abortion where initially it was the exception to become an expectation that is actively pushed by welfare agencies and family planning organisations. As pregnant girls are pressured towards the abortion option by a society intolerant of the cost of the DPB what protection is there going to be for the elderly against a societal expectation to do the decent thing.

    I suggest this is a very dangerous line to cross.

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  7. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    iMP: (and others who push this view) Palliative care is NOT the be all and end all answer to this complex problem. Ask any nurse to name the half dozen worst ways they have seen people die…without wanting to be ghoulish I remember my first wife telling me about some poor bastard who had a “fungating tumour” (think something like a cauliflower) growing on his neck…Because of its location everyone knew that the poor mans end would come with the tumour eating into the carotid artery resulting in an uncontrollable bleed. That is what happened.

    Motor neurone disease – which eventually results in one being unable to breathe because the diaphragm is paralysed – is another horrible way to go, and the eventual end is entirely predictable.

    In neither of those cases is palliative care worth a damn. And any honest person with medical training with tell you so. And they will be able to come up with any number of other dreadful forms of exit such as I describe at the beginning of this post.

    Because assisting suicide and euthanasia are hugely problematic is no reason to just put it in the too hard basket.

    Fish lad: Interesting that your view is the same as that of fundamentalist Catholic Bill English.

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  8. grumpyoldhori (2,410 comments) says:

    Fucking bible bashers, what a bunch of hypocrites, they whine that people should suffer while dying yet they would want pain relief.

    Want to suffer bible bashers, great, we will let you die in agony from bone cancer, and no you will not be getting any pain relief.

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  9. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    David Garrett: The phrase “fundamentalist Catholic” betrays, I think, a real lack of sophisticated knowledge of the history of religion (and by corollary, Western Civilisation).

    Stick to your day job – whatever that is.

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

    Ttotally agree with Fish Boy and Mark. At this juncture in history anyway.
    I’m a pro-choicer but I think time would better be spent on what leads to the blowing out of abortion stats and what might lead to Mother In Laws being led to an untimely end :)
    Personally I find it incredible that people need permission to kill themselves. It’s not as though you’re gonna get told off for offing yourself. I’d hope that those who truly have no quality of life can find a way out peacefully, but until there are wards of people dying grisly deaths it’s better not to address this can of worms. Unless you could legislate for specific diseases like Huntington’s or Motor Neuron.
    I had a brain bleed. Agonising. I knew I was dying and would have without intervention.
    You never know what is around the corner, including the nature of your own death. The only difference between me and Mr cauliflower carotid is that I had no prior knowledge and he had to live with fear and a degenerating quality of life.
    It’s a toughie.

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  11. MT_Tinman (2,993 comments) says:

    I want to die!

    More specifically I want to die before I become that useless, unloved, unwanted, unvisited drooling simpleton in the corner of the old peoples home let alone that poor bastard slowly starving or choking to death in a hospital bed because some (probably god-botherer) dickhead has decided that I must cling to life for as long as possible for his reasons, not mine.

    So, while if you decide to knock me off I’d prefer you gave me a bit of notice so I can have one last shot at wine, woman and song I support any law change that will allow me to eventually die on my own terms.

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  12. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Monique: but that is exactly the point…Mr “fungating tumour” KNEW what was going to happen, although the nurses strove mightily to prevent him from knowing…and in this internet age, you wouldnt even need to have basic medical knowledge or be at all bright to google “fungating tumour+neck” and find out

    Cato: I am sure everyone here knows what I mean…we have at least one such person right here on this blog..But you’re right, I spent at least half of my time at uni getting a degree that would make me a living, not studying the history of religious thought, and the development of western religion.

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  13. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    I had a friend of mine die very young – mid twenties – from aggressive cancer. Her last day was marked by pain not even the strongest morphine could control. She had lived to her last meaningful minute. Her distressed family asked the doctor to give her enough pain relief to stop the pain. Everyone knew without having to say what that request portended. The doctor gave the required dose, the pain subsided, and she died right there on the bed set up in the front room. It was a decision that was made by morally responsible adults (including the doctor) who understood what they were proposing and understood the consequences of their actions.

    The state has no part to play in that process, except where there may be some question over motives – and then I trust in the moral authority of a jury to return the right verdict.

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  14. nasska (10,688 comments) says:

    fish_boy

    Then your friend had one, if only one, bit of good fortune. She didn’t have a doctor steeped in the accrued crap of an ancient religious sect who believed that her suffering was “God’s will”. All that legislation enabling assisted suicide would bring about is that the welfare & wishes of the patient would be given priority over religious myths.

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  15. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    fishboy: this happens in every hospital every day…but what about the situation where there IS no pain, such as in both the examples I cite?

    If anyone can suggest “palliative care” solutions for someone with a fungating tumour that will result in death by a carotid bleed, or MNS which will result – eventually – in death by suffocation, I am all ears…

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  16. eszett (2,337 comments) says:

    But that is the penalty we pay for the miracle of being born at all.

    What stupid and grotesque statement. You have to pay a “penalty” for being alive.
    Just shows how absurd religion is, but the Catholics surely take be biscuit.

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  17. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    eszett: Amen to that.

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  18. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Where is KB’s resident fundy catholic today?? Off washing her hair shirt? Doing a spot of self scourging and offering up her suffering to the BVM?

    That’s the sort of shit we were taught…”whenever you are suffering, offer that suffering up to the Blessed Virgin” No wonder fundy catholics think as they do about this issue….death from MNS is probably today’s “approved” method of gaining a plenary indulgence…(Cato, the expert on western religious thought, can explain all about those)

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  19. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    David Garrett: Nice to see you basically agree that you’re ignorant of the underpinnings of Western Civilisation – which also happen to provide the moral and philosophical basis for free enterprise capitalism, the common law and science.

    The business of business is business and the business of government is government. Bully for you that your study was orientated for marketable skills. If you profess (even celebrate) your ignorance in the philosophy and origins of our culture, then you’re hardly fit to comment on the ethics of government – especially not in such crudely dismissive terms.

    Once again, we see that so many on the right in New Zealand are merely unemotional liberals. History, for them, is something that started when they were born.

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  20. kowtow (7,645 comments) says:

    nasska

    You’re religious obsession lets you down.

    Where in my comment is there anything remotely religious?
    And your comment on Church control is misplaced .The Church is actually a strong exponant of the concept of free will etc,it’s a very complex and ancient issue,I wouldn’t expect you to understand or even try as you are simply a closed minded bigot.

    You should try to educate yourself though, it is said to broaden horizons.

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  21. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Cato: Please share with everyone how the Catholic church once sold “plenary indulgences”…Just out of interest, are you a member of “the one true, holy, catholic and apostolic church”..as I once was? (Not that I had any bloody choice…)

    And please do explain to those of us who are so ignorant, how “the origins of our culture” or “western civilization” has anything at all to do with whether we should force people to die horrible deaths whether they wish to or not.

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  22. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    It’s not up to me to make up for your disdain and subsequent lack of interest in the liberal arts which, in their true form the artes liberales – were those subjects considered essential for a free citizen to have knowledge of. Read a book.

    Suffice it to say, the concept of natural law – including the idea that all human life is sancrosanct, turned out to be a pretty foundational concept for the idea of equality before the law and, subsequently, the rule of law.

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  23. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    Cato,

    I have noticed that your favourite tactic is to claim superior knowledge and then to decline to “waste your time” in debate.

    The problem is that we never actually see this superior knowledge. All we ever see is someone claiming to know better, then running away.

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  24. Hoolian (220 comments) says:

    I admit that its very hard to watch David Garrent try and clamber up onto the moral high ground. He stole a dead babies identity, which pretty much removes his rights to judge religion, Catholic or otherwise.

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  25. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Ah! the “dead baby”….(aged two and a half at the time of his death 54 years ago) HE had to be brought into at some point Mr Houlihan (good Catholic name)…

    And how, pray, am I “clamber[ing] up onto the moral high ground”?

    Given yourself a good whipping this morning?

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  26. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    I think it is usually pointless to spend otherwise productive time trying to make up for remedial deficiencies in historical knowledge in the form of blog comments by demonstably close minded people. That said, it is worth calling out blatantly foolish comments in the hope that the commenter – or some reader – will think to read a book.

    I will say that the centre-right in this country truly suffers from a poverty of historical argument to its detriment. Let’s take the inept prosecution of the enactment of prisoner disenfranchisement, for instance. It is a genuinely worthy statute that has deep roots in concepts like the ancient Athenian practice of ostracism – but because we were mostly unable to make those connections, the floor fell too easily to others who were too easy for the media to make into buffoons.

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  27. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    Hoolian,

    You do realise that he didn’t kill the baby, don’t you?

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  28. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    David Garrett – you don’t have to practice mortifications to show regret about doing something awful.

    You could, for instance, follow in the shoes of John Profumo and redeem your public reputation (and repair the damage you did to the cause of ordered liberty) through private good works.

    Instead you have choosen to become a blog commenter – and a vulgar and petty one at that.

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  29. kowtow (7,645 comments) says:

    DG
    Don’t go down the road of slagging off Catholics etc ( I don’t understand the Bill Elnglish comment) It’s just silly .Stick to the argument .

    Garrett has an Irish tone to it?

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  30. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    Let’s be honest, the Catholic Church is the Christian equivalent of the Monster Raving Loony Party, with its made-up theology, it’s invented ceremonies, saints and relics.

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  31. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    It’s hardly a Catholic or even Christian issue. If you grant the ethical belief that human life is sancrosanct, you can then reasonably discuss the consequences of that belief. Otherwise, you can argue about the premise (which is supplied by Catholicism but is not exclusive to it). Should we accord special protection to human life?

    That’s what it comes down to, even if others don’t have the faculties for the discussion.

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  32. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Kowtow: It’s actually Welsh, as I understand it. The Catholicism comes from my French mother.

    I bring Bill English into the debate because I once wrote to him deploring the fate of some poor bastard with motor neurone disease who was close to the point of choking to death, and wanted to be able to chose the time of his passing. I forget now why I wrote to English, but in any event I received a scornful reply, the gist of which was that suffering was part of life, and that was too bad. Much along the lines of a comment made earlier today.

    Knowing of English’s strong Catholic beliefs, I cannot help but assume they strongly influence his view of both assisted suicide and euthanasia.

    And to return to the topic at hand, I am still waiting for someone to explain how “palliative care” would assist those facing horrific deaths albeit without suffering significant pain. Disquisitions on philosophy and the history of western civilization are not really of much use to such poor people…

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  33. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    They’re not much help to you because, as you’ve made clear, you don’t really care about the thousands of years of discourse and debate on what is meant by the term – “a good death.”

    You might not share the assumption that all life – even suffering life – has value. As far as I know, you might subscribe to some crude utilitarianism or Brave New World style hedonism and that’s your right. The community has a right, however, to hew to the ancient idea that some suffering is part of the human condition and, indeed, makes us more fully human.

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  34. kowtow (7,645 comments) says:

    Garett’

    For many years now terminally ill folk have been given morphine to ease suffering and that dose gets upped slowly and eventually the person dies, peacefully, without pain.
    . Call that what you will it’s been the way for a long long time. Even in Catholic Ireland.
    I know that is also done in other jurisdictions,the medication often administered by a relaitve.Do we need to go any further?

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  35. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    The question put by +John Dew is: ““If individual choice was the basis for legalising euthanasia then there would be no logical basis for denying it to a person who is depressed…” We flinch from that possibility but on what logical basis? But then, what’s the limiting principle between fatally intervening against the life of the physically ill and fatally intervening against the life of the mentally ill?

    I’ve yet to hear a compelling response – just fetit remarks from David Garrett.

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  36. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    kowtow: With respect – and I mean that genuinely – you are completely ignoring my question. Any doctor who gave a large – or even any – dose of morphine to someone suffering from MND would probably be charged with murder, or at the very least, manslaughter. There is no argument that palliative care is extremely useful for those suffering unbearable pain, but there are many horrible ways to go out in which pain plays very little if any part.

    Cato: You sound like some wordy undergraduate trying to impress with your understanding of “philosophical constructs”. But you are not saying anything of relevance to this issue. And you simply ignore the question of whether you are Catholic, and that is hugely relevant to a debate like this, as it would be to any other debate which involves the fundamental teachings of the mother church.

    And perhaps you could define “fetit” for me; I dont have my Shorter Oxford handy…

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  37. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    Cato,

    As far as I know, you might subscribe to some crude utilitarianism or Brave New World style hedonism and that’s your right. The community has a right, however, to hew to the ancient idea that some suffering is part of the human condition and, indeed, makes us more fully human.

    Of course, only individuals have rights. “Communities” don’t.

    So, if you honestly respect someone’s right to “subscribe to some crude utilitarianism or Brave New World style hedonism,” that’s really the end of your argument.

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  38. kowtow (7,645 comments) says:

    dg
    Those cases pose an incredible dilema. I won’t pretend to have any answers to the issue.

    o/t Garret Fitzgerald was a very respected poliie in Ireland,the fitz means son ,from the Normans.Another frog. :)

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  39. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Fetid – but if you want to point score on a typo go ahead.

    My view is that it is legitimate to leave the matter to the political community and not to unaccountable judges – see my first post.

    I then turned to defending the Catholic Church against your blustering comments. I repeat my comment that while the Church may oppose euthanasia, that is not an exclusive concern of the Church, but of a broader ethical disposition.

    “I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel” – Hippocrates said that in 400 BC. Would you challenge him to reveal if he was secretly a Catholic?

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  40. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    My view is that it is legitimate to leave the matter to the political community

    You want the likes of Helen Clark and Winston Peters making these personal life and death decisions for you?

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  41. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Fetid: “stinking”…only definition in the Concise Oxford… (Still can’t find the Shorter)…yep, that’s a sensible contribution to the debate…accusing an adversary of making “stinking comments”…

    And we have now established by default that you are Catholic…are you over 25?

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  42. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    And what the feck is “the political community”? Do you mean “politicians”? If so, why not just say so?

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  43. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Your contribution have generally been fetid, however, as in noxious and nasty. All the way when challenged on your posts you have responded by superciliously asking people if they have been whipping themselves and wearing hair shirts. Why the need to include some obnoxious and beligerent line in every comment?

    You remind me of Chris Carter asking anyone who challenged him on the intolerable Electoral Finance Act “Are you a member of the Exclusive Brethren?”.

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  44. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Because a political community is more than the political class, it includes the electors.

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  45. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    Cato,

    You are confused and contradictory: on the one hand claiming to support a person’s right to “subscribe to some crude utilitarianism or Brave New World style hedonism”, and on the other saying it should be left to a majority vote.

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  46. Northland Wahine (648 comments) says:

    I get the suffering is part of the human condition, however how mush suffering is too much? We heavily medicate those that are in extreme pain for humane reasons. We prolong life knowing there is little if any chance of recovery. Surely that is an example that another part of the human condition, is compassion.

    I think we all agree life is sacred. So if someone decides while in a sane and consensual frame of mind, that if worse comes to worse, I for one will not go against their wishes

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  47. Northland Wahine (648 comments) says:

    I get the suffering is part of the human condition, however how much suffering is too much? We heavily medicate those that are in extreme pain for humane reasons. We prolong life knowing there is little if any chance of recovery. Surely that is an example that another part of the human condition, is compassion.

    I think we all agree life is sacred. So ifsomeone decides while in a sane and consensual frame of mind, that if worse comes to worse, I for one will not go against their wishes

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  48. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    So…we have a fundmentalist Catholic, aged less than 25, who is very proud of his ability to use what my mates on the rigs used to call “big words”…but who is not very good at actually debating the issue which is: What do we do to ease the deaths of those suffering either intolerable pain or indignity, but who do not wish to wait for Yahweh (or whoever) to “call them home” when they have suffered enough.

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  49. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Actually Mr Garrett – you don’t know anything about me. I wouldn’t presume to say, for instance, “we are here being lectured on ethics by disgraced former list MP who resigned in disgrace following the revelation that he defrauded Her Majesty’s government by obtaining a falsified passport by way of adopting the identity of a dead infant and who also lost his practicing certificate for swearing a false affidavit that did not disclose that he had been convicted of assault.”

    Focus on the issues and they are that the question of when it is ethically permissible to lethally intervene against a human life is a contentious matter, but it is a reasonable position to agree with the historical consensus of our civilisation to err on the side of protectiing human life.

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  50. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    it is a reasonable position to agree with the historical consensus of our civilisation to err on the side of protecting human life.

    That is not an argument.

    By the same token, perhaps we should bring back “historical” slavery and child labour as well?

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  51. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    That’s an argument for another day – I’m only inveighing against David Garrett’s anti-Catholicism.

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  52. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    In fact it’s the topic of this thread.

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  53. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Or it was, until David Garrett started questioning whether everyone who disagreed with him was a secret Papist.

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  54. Northland Wahine (648 comments) says:

    Cato, I do think David G asked a valid question… What do we do to ease those into death who are suffering extreme pain and or indignity? Tell them to “suck it up”?

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  55. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    until David Garrett started questioning whether everyone who disagreed with him was a secret Papist.

    Which, technically, you are

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  56. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    That is a valid question – what is not germane, however, is attacking people on the basis of their (presumed) religion.

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  57. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    It’s to find out why you claim a certain position, since you were not explaining it yourself. It turned out to be religious dogma.

    That’s fine, for you. But it means nothing to those who don’t believe in the supernatural.

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  58. Lucia Maria (2,208 comments) says:

    David Garret just wanted me to turn up when he mentioned hair shirts. :P

    When it comes to the actual post that David Farrar made on euthanasia, the problem with it is that people want the right to kill others whom they think are suffering without legal penalty; or if they are dying themselves, they want the right for someone else to kill them, thus making that other person a murderer. Both are wrong.

    For most people, if they want to commit suicide themselves, they can do it quite easily. My best friend certainly did when we were both aged 14.

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  59. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Actually, Wat – the only position I claimed was to be against judicial activism.

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  60. RRM (9,471 comments) says:

    Isn’t suicide a sin too Lucia?

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  61. Mark (1,366 comments) says:

    David Garrett it is hard to disagree with your example of the poor bloke with the tumour or those with MND however how does a law discriminate between those people and those who simply want to check out because life is a bit of a shit sandwich. My issue is not with the right for the terminally ill to avoid an odious end but where and how the law is drawn to stop the kids from convincing the old and frail mother in geriatric care that she should check out to save everyone the burden of looking after her.

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  62. Lucia Maria (2,208 comments) says:

    RRM,

    Yes, it is. Especially if a person knows what they are doing. There is some leeway for people not in their right minds.

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  63. Scott (1,709 comments) says:

    Euthanasia is a very difficult issue in my view. One can certainly feel for people suffering at the end of their life.
    However Western civilisation has been a strong defender of “the right to life”. We believe that people have a right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for example.

    Euthanasia appears to establish the opposite principle – there is a “right to die”. They are in contradiction. If we establish that an elderly person has a right to die, then presumably we will have to give somebody a right to kill them. Or else we give them the right to suicide.

    There are huge problems with both of these actions. If we give someone a right to kill an elderly person, then we are giving them the right to take innocent human life. That appears to go directly against the protection and value that we give to life.

    If we give someone the right to kill themselves, then we are legally upholding and presumably financially paying for suicide. If an elderly person has the right to kill themselves, how can we really establish a limiting principle? Surely then the depressed teenager who are sick of their life has a right to die? Lord knows we have enough problems with teenage suicide right now. Surely we don’t wish to give suicidal teenagers any encouragement to take their own lives? Which is what we would do if we said it is okay for their grandparents to kill themselves.

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  64. Griff (6,821 comments) says:

    You can discus right to live right to die the right it being a Xian or the atrocity’s committed by the Papalists
    ITS THE RIGHT OF THE INDIVIDUAL TO CHOICE

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  65. nasska (10,688 comments) says:

    I wrote my 8.48am with tongue in cheek in full expectation that it would get slammed by the papists. I was not to be disappointed.

    What is it with you religious nutters? Nowhere has anybody, including DPF, suggested that assisted suicide would be forced on people against their wish unless you count the feeble assertion that oldies will be told that it is time to go. In fact I fully support your right to die in agony, screaming, clutching your Bibles if that’s your wont. (I would ask that you use soundproof rooms so as not to disturb us non believers).

    The only important issue is that we are all allowed freedom of choice.

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  66. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Scott – “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is an interesting one because the USDI exemplifies those as “inalienable rights” – which by necessary implication, can not be alienated.

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  67. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Lucia: You may well have gone off to do your Friday devotions, but if you are still here I would appreciate a catch up on the dogma as it presently stands… It has been thirty years since my last confession…

    Limbo was abolished a while ago, correct?

    But purgatory is still “real” ?

    Is missing mass on Sunday if you are able to attend still a mortal sin?

    What is the difference between mortal and cardinal sins? (Always got those two mixed up)

    And contraception is still totally out, right? (Unless you live in a Western country in which “you should discuss that with God”. Have I got that right?

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  68. kowtow (7,645 comments) says:

    nasska @413

    I’ll call you on that.
    You were adressing me,a Papist and you commented directly on said Church.
    You try to pass yourself off as a comedian but you only confirm at every turn your bigotry.

    cue for nasska to search the internet for another papist joke,hahahaha

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  69. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    kowtow: Perhaps you can help me out with those “dogma as she is today” questions…most of them are actually serious!

    I always did find it all a bit confusing…sorta lost it after they told us we had to pray that our non catholic friends convert before they died, because if they didnt the best they could hope for was purgatory…My father was an Anglican…and basically a good if weak man…

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  70. Lucia Maria (2,208 comments) says:

    Hi David,

    With regards to your father, God knew his heart and mind, and therefore where he ended up will take that into account.

    Limbo has been abolished in that it’s been said categorically that we just don’t know. It was never doctrine as such, merely theological speculation.

    Purgatory, on the hand, is definitely still real. It’s where souls who merit Heaven, but aren’t totally pure yet, go to get themselves totally cleaned up to enter the presence of God.

    Missing Mass on a Sunday is still a mortal sin. When I confessed all the times I had missed Mass when I was starting to lapse around the time my friend died, right up until I reverted back to Catholicism nearly 6 years ago, I had to estimate how many times I missed going.

    The cardinal sins can cause you to commit mortal sins. They’re tendencies in all of us, to lesser or greater degrees that we have to constantly struggle against. They have corresponding virtues as counters.

    Contraception is totally out – that’s another mortal sin. Whether you are in a Western country or not.

    Hope that helps.

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  71. nasska (10,688 comments) says:

    kowtow

    You take things so personally. I have on many occasions confirmed that you have an absolute right to your beliefs & an equal right to practise them. What I don’t go along with is when you use these same beliefs to change or influence laws which we both must live by.

    You climb into debates about abortion, contraception & euthanasia with a completely closed mind filled with ideology from your church. You & others then pronounce these articles of faith as fact, then accuse me of intolerance.

    To one not of your faith your beliefs are no more than your personal viewpoint…..I am merely expressing a different opinion.

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  72. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    Remember also that not wearing tassles on your clothes is a sin. As is mixing different types of fibres in the weave.

    Hope that helps.

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  73. nasska (10,688 comments) says:

    There’s worse than that to consider wat…….apparently you are in deep poop if you sow two different crops in the same field.

    Since I sowed three paddocks in a rye/clover/chicory mix in autumn I expect to be the subject of a severe smiting any day now :)

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  74. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Yes, thank you Lucia…but perhaps you can explain this to me…I am aware that according to an encyclical issued by the later Pope Paul, contraception is out under any circumstances…even if you have 10 (surviving) kids and live in a barrio in Mexico City, contraception is a no no…how then to explain that all – and I mean ALL of my practising Catholic female friends – tell me that their parish priest says “weeeel…that’s a guideline…but if you talk to God, and you and he decide that’s it’s OK… then taking the pill is not actually a sin”

    Now a cynic like me assumes that that is because if they stuck to the party line, the church in NZ (and the US and the UK and most western countries) would have few female members left…other than exalted and beatific exceptions like yourself of course…but that can’t be right, can it?

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

    @ Nasska – That’s superfecundation for you.

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  76. Griff (6,821 comments) says:

    Maybe that’s why the watermelons are so down on diary farmers. Farmers have been planting rye and glover in this country for decades. They are pretty big on weird religiosity like aromatherapy and planting horns of potions andThe wain or lack off of the moon. It would be natural to add a few papist bits of mumbo jumbo in that.

    Look out DG. Lucia will be praying for you and if you are real bad you will cop an Exorcism.

    Mind you the poor lassies hart is in the right place bit like the penguin. :wink:

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  77. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Monique:”Superfecundation”…that’s a new one on me…I bet even that juvenile chap who wanted to impress us with his use of language earlier hasnt heard of that….

    But seriously folks…any true believer is welcome to put me right on what I think of as “the pill paradox”…mortal sin in Mexico; just fine here…

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  78. chiz (1,119 comments) says:

    And if you have a flat nose then God doesn’t like you (Lev 21:18), even though he made you!!

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

    Griff, You mean: Don’t cut your hair when the moon is waning, and don’t wank while it’s waxing . A set of rules for the religious and non-religous alike! Sorry, that’s my best attempt at papist mumbo jumbo :)

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  80. big bruv (13,315 comments) says:

    David Garrett.

    Is the late Martin Hawes mentioned in the original post the same man who wrote that great book on Winston Peters?

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  81. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    BB: has Martin Hawes (the trust buster??) passed over to the other side? I hadnt heard..

    I just want an answer to the Pill Paradox…

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  82. Northland Wahine (648 comments) says:

    Wane on… Wax off… Or is that whack off? I thought that was a mortal sin all the time?!

    And David… Can you please warn me pre exorcism? I make it a habit to avoid holy water… Habit, nuns! Slaps own thigh! I kill me!

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  83. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Where’s that other wordy young chap I was debating today? The one who had to eventualy resort to “he stole the identity of a dead baby…”

    Perhaps he’s out sinning, knowing it can all be washed away by confession (I believe they now call it “reconciliation” now ) tomorro afternoon…It’s actually pretty amazing if you can only believe it…be a mafioso and kill women, but it can all be absolved by Father Dominic (sorry, that’s The Exorcist) after rugby on Saturday…

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  84. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    tell me that their parish priest says “weeeel…that’s a guideline…but if you talk to God, and you and he decide that’s it’s OK… then taking the pill is not actually a sin”

    DG, then that priest would be wrong in saying that.
    The Church does recognize the need sometimes to space children out and doesn’t expect women to be just human baby-producing machines. That is why we have Natural Family Planning, which can be just as effective as artificial contraception.

    ScienceDaily (Feb. 21, 2007) — Researchers have found that a method of natural family planning that uses two indicators to identify the fertile phase in a woman’s menstrual cycle is as effective as the contraceptive pill for avoiding unplanned pregnancies if used correctly, according to a report published online in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction today (21 February). [1]

    The symptothermal method (STM) is a form of natural family planning (NFP) that enables couples to identify accurately the time of the woman’s fertile phase by measuring her temperature and observing cervical secretions. In the largest, prospective study of STM, the researchers found that if the couples then either abstained from sex or used a barrier method during the fertile period, the rate of unplanned pregnancies per year was 0.4% and 0.6% respectively. Out of all the 900 women who took part in the study, including those who had unprotected sex during their fertile period, 1.8 per 100 became unintentionally pregnant.

    The lead author of the report, Petra Frank-Herrmann, assistant professor and managing director of the natural fertility section in the Department of Gynaecological Endocrinology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, said: “For a contraceptive method to be rated as highly efficient as the hormonal pill, there should be less than one pregnancy per 100 women per year when the method is used correctly. The pregnancy rate for women who used the STM method correctly in our study was 0.4%, which can be interpreted as one pregnancy occurring per 250 women per year. Therefore, we maintain that the effectiveness of STM is comparable to the effectiveness of modern contraceptive methods such as oral contraceptives, and is an effective and acceptable method of family planning.”

    I can’t get the story to load properly, so am using the cached Google version – go HERE to read more.

    Now, you may say, what is the difference? Aren’t you still purposefully trying not to get pregnant?
    Well, yes. But it’s not totally blocking off the chance that you might. The man and wife are still giving themselves to each other totally and allowing God in as well (human beings cannot create life, only God does. We are just the vessels by which new life is brought into the world).

    It’s not just Catholics who were against artificial contraception, by the way. Until 1930, both Catholics and Protestants were united on the issue, and of the opinion that it was wrong. Even Freud thought it was “a perversion”.

    “. . . it is a characteristic common to all the perversions that in them reproduction as an aim is put aside. This is actually the criterion by which we judge whether a sexual activity is perverse – if it departs from reproduction in its aims and pursues the attainment of gratification independently . . . Everything that . . . serves the pursuit of gratification alone is called by the unhonored title of ‘perversion’ and as such is despised.”

    , Sigmund Freud, XX. The Sexual Life of Man. Sigmund Freud. 1920. A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis

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  85. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Wahine: If I am ever to be exorcised, I will expect you to be here to deal with the projectile vomit… but somehow despite the osteopath’s best ministrations, I think rotating my head through 360 degrees is unlikely to happen any time soon…

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

    Rotff, Northland Wahine, lol. Do let me be the first to coin the phrase:
    Wax on: wank off !!

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  87. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    The Science Daily link seems to be loading OK for me now, here – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070221065200.htm

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  88. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Fletch: Welcome, and God bless you…yes, I am aware of “natural family planning”…I can even see it’s an idea with considerable merit…no drugs and not interfering with natural cycles and all that…but tell me, are you as shy as my young adversary this afternoon, and loathe to admit that you are a supplicant and believer in the doctrines of the Holy Mother Church? (Just speeds things up a bit, if you get my drift…)

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

    Lucia Maria: Sorry about your friend, that’s really unfortunate. So young.

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  90. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    ps, I clicked on another link whilst at Science Daily, that says there is another method called the Standard Days method, which is just as effective as well –

    Long-Term Effectiveness of New Family Planning Method Shown in Study

    ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2011) — A simple-to-use, fertility-awareness based method of family planning developed by researchers from the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University Medical Center so effectively meets the needs of users that they continue to rely on it for years.

    [...]

    The Standards Days Method was established as an effective short-term (one year) family planning method in a study published in 2002. In this earlier study, of which Jennings was the principal investigator, the Standard Days Method was found to be more than 95 percent effective at avoiding pregnancy, with a failure rate of less than 5 percent. This effectiveness rate is higher than other use-directed methods such as diaphragm or condom.

    James N. Gribble, Sc.D. of the Population Reference Bureau and senior author of the 2011 paper, says their results demonstrate that effectiveness continues throughout the second and third years of use.

    “Family planning enables women to have the desired number of children and to space and time births. Almost all the 2011 study participants had children, often with at least one child younger than two years old, before they began to use the Standard Days Method,” he says. “Yet few of the study participants had unplanned pregnancy over the three-year period of the study due to the method’s very high effectiveness.”

    From the image there, it looks like they count on some kind of beads.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110920103822.htm

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  91. chiz (1,119 comments) says:

    Fletch (7.37pm) – you might want to actually read the material that you quote – particularly the bit about using a barrier method. They were still using contraception some of the time, just not hormonal contraception.

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  92. Northland Wahine (648 comments) says:

    Sniggers… Monique, it’s all yours! ;)

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  93. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    but tell me, are you as shy as my young adversary this afternoon, and loathe to admit that you are a supplicant and believer in the doctrines of the Holy Mother Church?

    David Garrett, you mean am I a Catholic?
    Yes, I have said so many times, and most people on this blog know that I am.

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  94. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    Flecth – you might want to actually read the material that you quote – particularly the bit about using a barrier method. They were still using contraception some of the time, just not hormonal contraception.

    chiz, you mean where it says -

    the researchers found that if the couples then either abstained from sex or used a barrier method during the fertile period, the rate of unplanned pregnancies per year was 0.4% and 0.6% respectively.

    Seems to me to mean two different groups.

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  95. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Fletch: thanks for that…and of course you are absolutely entitled to believe whatever you like…for some odd reason though the wordy undergraduate I was trying to debate today didn’t want to admit it…it was a bit like Mr Humphries from “Are you being served?” mincing across the set while saying “Gay? GAY? What on EARTH gives you the impression I am gay?”

    But seriously, let me ask you this…and please ignore me if to do as I suggest might lead to marital discord….ask your wife if she has ever been in a group of Catholic women – with or without the prescence of the agent of the redeemer – who have said that if you talk to God, and decide between you that it’s OK, then contraception is not really a sin…

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  96. Leaping Jimmy (15,962 comments) says:

    Isn’t euthanasia about giving compos mentis people with genuine reasons a grace-filled way out, not about terminating foetuses whom lets agree are never compos mentis albeit are, human beings?

    If so then how about talk about the former not the latter.

    Or do the two become inextricably entwined in some minds, for some reason.

    As a starter, what standards do we require? Suppose we allowed the state to administer a lethal injection, what standards do we require before that happens?

    Are younger, rational, highly intelligent but nevertheless despair-filled-for-good-reason-for-they-see-no-hope-e.g.-current-gfc people allowed to take it alongside the really wrinkly skin old people who aren’t going to live for more than five minutes? If not, why not? For example.

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  97. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Because Catholicism is ruling the thread here’s the fabulous Deaf Boys by Harry Shearer.

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  98. Fletch (6,028 comments) says:

    But seriously, let me ask you this…and please ignore me if to do as I suggest might lead to marital discord….ask your wife if she has ever been in a group of Catholic women – with or without the prescence of the agent of the redeemer – who have said that if you talk to God, and decide between you that it’s OK, then contraception is not really a sin

    David Garrett, unfortunately I cannot answer that as I am not married.
    As such, I am not really privy to what goes on in the world of women’s contraception in my local sphere. :)

    If any women had mentioned what you said though, then they would be completely wrong.
    Catholics believe that Jesus set up the Church on Earth to guide the faithful, and that the Church has His Authority on issues of Faith and Morals – eg,

    “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

    If these women are not following the Church then they are wrong, or if it is the priest leading them astray then both are wrong.

    It would be like someone from a Vegetarian society saying that they feel like eating meat now and again, and they’ve talked with one of the leaders who says it’s OK sometimes.

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  99. princetipytoe (47 comments) says:

    Stealing a dead baby’s name to procure a passport, credit cards and GST rebates. Welcome to the lowest of low in fraud; stealing the identities of dead children.
    Identity theft is frightening enough on its own but made even more horrible with the discovery that it’s relatively common for a criminal to use the identity of a dead baby to get what they want.
    Maybe I’m too soft or superstitious but I feel as if stealing the identity of a dead baby is the lowest of low of crimes. How does one even go about obtaining names of dead babies?

    The cemetery of course; some thieves prowl cemeteries looking for names and dates.

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  100. kowtow (7,645 comments) says:

    Nasska
    Go back over this post .

    I mentioned equality….no religion. You adressed me directly and brought up Catholicism. You adressed me personally and brought up Church. I hadn’t.

    You are the one who “climbs” into debates and brings religion to the debate. Then you go off about Catholicism!

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  101. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Ah Prince! And god bless you…let me say (off topic as it is) that just today, 22 June 2012, I have decided that I have apologised enough for my misdeeds of 28 years ago..but if you really think that your “contribution” adds to this debate, then…God bless you!

    What is your real name? come on son, don’t be shy…you know mine…

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  102. big bruv (13,315 comments) says:

    David Garrett

    Sorry. I meant Martin Hames.

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  103. nasska (10,688 comments) says:

    kowtow

    I think you may put a small tick against your score on this thread but it would be won on a technicality at best.

    That should bring a smidgeon of joy to your sad & religious life. :)

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  104. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    BB: sorry, I am not familiar with Martin Hames…who’s he?

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  105. princetipytoe (47 comments) says:

    DG
    Jesus loves you, everyone else thinks you’re a jerk

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  106. nasska (10,688 comments) says:

    Troll alert!

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  107. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Prince…prince…I am so wounded! where is mummy? Off saying the rosary?

    And what a brave boy you are! Hiding behind that pseud…

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  108. Northland Wahine (648 comments) says:

    Ummmm… Tipy, many on here would disagree with you. But hey, I’m sure you have the jerk factor all under control.

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  109. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Tiresome princetipytoe. When Garret first arrived and took a seat the KB commentariat spent weeks harassing him.

    Dead babies, fraud, fistfights, drunkenness and who knows what else but he sucked it up, made no effort, well maybe a little at first, to minimise his offending and made repeated apologies.

    Who knows but being on the receiving end he’s probably had good reason to rethink earlier positions and perhaps he may even look through slightly different coloured spectacles. This lefty hopes so.

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  110. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    “Everyone else thinks…” there speaks a true son of the church! Are you educated enough to know that BOTH sides in BOTH world wars were convinced that “God is on our side”?

    Cha: may perpetual light shine upon you my son…

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  111. Griff (6,821 comments) says:

    Second time today I have seen “everyone else” or “the rest of us” very inclusive language!
    let me guess princetipytoe you found that fact on www:factsfromoutyourarse.com
    I have a big problem because every time I search for this mystical site I get 404. Is there some incantation I am not intoning?. Will symbolic cannibalism help? Or will just repeating the name of a gods mother do it? Please help in this superstitious conundrum I am faced with.

    :lol:

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  112. princetipytoe (47 comments) says:

    What am I? Flypaper for freaks!?

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  113. Northland Wahine (648 comments) says:

    No tipy, you are the freak. :)

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  114. kowtow (7,645 comments) says:

    dave garrett

    very sorry missed your 606.
    and sorry again, I’m not up to the whole dogma thing being a fairly simple soul. I have always tried to avoid getting into that side of things, esp in forums like this.

    nasska
    you bastard, I wasn’t going to have a drink this weekend. Now I have to go and fucken celebrate my win with a glass of milk.

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  115. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    But off topic chaps…someone observed the other day that the phool is so frightened of a perpetual (that word again) ban that he only dares venture on the GD…so while he fucks that up every day, we can still enjoy some lively debate on other topics…

    Actually I first posted on this thread early this morning…I raised two real life examples to rebut the “palliative care makes euthanasia/assited suicide unnecessary” argument …here were are 12 hours later, and despite several entreaties, no-one has suggested how palliative care can deal with those type of scenarios…lots of dead babies and references to the good book though…

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  116. Griff (6,821 comments) says:

    No princetypingtoes
    You are today’s lite relief, Then mummy will take the keyboard away :lol:

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  117. princetipytoe (47 comments) says:

    Cry me a river, build me a bridge and get over it.

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  118. Nostalgia-NZ (4,913 comments) says:

    Nice to hear from Cato.
    He was pointing out something very obvious. The ‘appreciated ritual and need’ to call an individual by their persuasion, or some ‘common’ factor justified by the commentator’s general concept or view. So, for example, one Catholic’s experiences or actions, are universal.
    But Cato trusts the politicians it seems and not the law.

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  119. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Cry me a river, build me a bridge and get over it

    Now if only the fish would stop biting when philu posts. Granted, he’s annoying as fuck sometimes but honestly, some days GD is like a kindergarten sandpit and I’m sure philu likes being the toddler who shits in it just for fun.

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  120. princetipytoe (47 comments) says:

    Child I.D. theft cases are turning up across the country. dead children, continue to be a hidden source of I.D. theft.
    “Because this is our daughter that has passed away,” she said, fighting back tears.

    Last August, her 21-month-old daughter Ava drowned in the family’s above-ground swimming pool in Blaine. The toddler’s death made headlines, and left a huge wound for the couple and their two other children.

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  121. Griff (6,821 comments) says:

    Was that death Euthanasia tipsytroll?
    Was the child communicative in wishing to die? Did they leave a note in their nappy? please share more

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  122. princetipytoe (47 comments) says:

    Not the brightest crayon in the box, now are we

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  123. David Garrett (6,461 comments) says:

    Who are you insulting now, anonymous troll? Come on Jimmy! Be brave son! Who ya really?

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  124. princetipytoe (47 comments) says:

    Whats that BIG BRUV

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