Overseas Experience Sends Clear Warning on Euthanasia

Media Release 23 Oct 2013
A report just released by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada says that international evidence shows that deaths by assisted suicide and euthanasia have been increasing wherever the practices have been legalised, and that the door is opened to a world of abuse.

The report “No second chances: International experience shows legal euthanasia is never just for “exceptional” cases” shows that around the world, eligibility rules are highly subjective, and once-selective criteria are expanded to include more and more people.

In the Netherlands, euthanasia deaths have increased 64% between 2005 and 2010. In Washington, assisted suicide deaths have increased 130% between 2009 and 2012. And in Oregon, assisted suicide deaths have doubled since 2005.

In the Netherlands, euthanasia began with terminally ill patients and expanded to those with mental illness. Now. babies with spina bifida or other illnesses are killed with parental consent. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease, even though they can no longer choose to be killed, are being euthanised. In Oregon, Jeannette Hall was approved for assisted suicide. She has since recovered her health and outlived her diagnosis by 13 years. In the Netherlands this year, a woman was killed who was afraid of going blind. In Oregon, arguments are being made to open eligibility for assisted suicide to anyone who is merely old. And in Belgium, a 44-year-old woman disappointed by her gender change surgery, decided to die by euthanasia.

The report concludes by saying that “The end effect of laws legalising euthanasia/assisted suicide are to entirely ignore the risks to those who are vulnerable and/or susceptible to coercion, as long as they self-define their suffering as unbearable. This is not compassionate. There are no second chances once euthanasia is perceived as the “best treatment.”

“To legalise assisted suicide would place large numbers of vulnerable people at risk – in particular those who are depressed, elderly, sick, disabled, those experiencing chronic illness, limited access to good medical care, and those who feel themselves to be under emotional or financial pressure to request early death. It would send a dangerous message to young people about suicide and the value of life.” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The bill put forward by Labour MP Marian Street would represent the most wide-ranging law of its kind in the world – and would be ripe for abuse. Maintaining the current law protects all New Zealanders equally.”

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