Judith Collins and Phil Goff in Stuff on euthanasia. First Collins:
I, like other Kiwis, watched as Lucretia Seales fought bravely in court for her right to die at a time of her choosing, with help from her GP.
Like many others, I wondered why it got this far. I wonder how many other Kiwis have died of a terminal illness and been helped – a lot – with morphine on their way out of this world.
Seales fought for the right to die without fear that her GP might be hauled before the courts because of her wishes.
In the past, Parliament has voted against voluntary euthanasia. Primarily, this is because the private member’s bills that have put it to Parliament have been full of holes and could have opened the elderly, in particular, to abuse.
Maybe it’s time for Parliament to revisit this with a carefully thought out bill that protects those doctors who carry out the well-considered wishes of their terminally ill patients.
Any such legislation should protect against any pressure brought on a terminally ill or disabled person. Many MPs rightly worry about the ill and aged believing themselves to be a burden on their families and feeling obliged to ask their doctors for help. Exactly who would be able to take this route or why are vexed questions.
By her sheer determination and courage, Seales showed it was her wish to pass when and how she wanted. It’s very clear that no one was pressuring her. She made a plea for dignity and control over her own death.
Why did Lecretia Seales have to fight in vain for the right to decide how she died?
Stricken with a terminal brain tumour, she did not want to die in pain or after having lost control of her body. She wanted to say her farewells with human dignity. If she felt her condition was too much to bear, she wanted the right to say enough.
There is nothing in law that says we cannot take our own lives but for a doctor to assist another to die even in these circumstances is a crime. It shouldn’t be.
With palliative care, most of us can die without pain and with dignity, letting nature take its course. Where this is not possible, people should have the right to choose for themselves when to bring suffering to an end.
What we need is a bill to be introduced. I believe it would have overwhelming public support, and so long as there were strong safeguards, would get a significant majority in Parliament to pass it.