Christian Medical Fellowship NZ as an organisation is strongly opposed to euthanasia or any form of physician-assisted suicide. As doctors, we have many ethical and practical concerns about the possibility of legalising euthanasia or PAS. For many of us our view of the inherent value of human life that the Bible teaches also forms our view.
Lessons from Canada written by Dr Rosalie Evans looks at what we can learn from the Canadian experience with this issue.
Justice Select Committee
There was a record number of submissions on the End of Life Choice (Euthanasia) Bill from organisations and individuals. The Care Alliance analysed all the submissions, their report is here. This Bill is due for its second reading and vote by Parliament in the next few months. It is vital that we tell our MPs how we feel about this Bill now.
Speaking to MPs
Also, consider talking to your local Member of Parliament about this issue. They will be the ones ultimately voting on this. The second reading has been delayed somewhat as the Justice Select Committee was given more time (until April 2019) to prepare their report due to a large number of submissions received. We as doctors have the expertise we can share with them. If this becomes law they will be asking doctors to be deciding eligibility and administrating lethal medications. It is recommended by Euthanasia-Free NZ that people speak from their professional perspective and/or include true stories from their personal or professional life. If you have already done this – let us know what it went. If you are considering it but would like some support/advice, please get in touch.
We encourage our members to learn more about these issues for themselves and form their own stance on this frequently debated topic. Even if you already have a strong view it is helpful to have well-reasoned arguments that you can share with others in a respectful manner. To help with this we have gathered some resources. These are listed below.
A recent interview with Dr Herx a visiting doctor telling about the results of euthanasia legislation in Canada. A transcript of Mike Hosking's interview with Dr Herx on NewsTalkZB on Monday is available here.
New website with video interviews and updated information: https://www.defendnz.co.nz/
Why have recent attempts to legalised euthanasia in the UK failed (1 min video):
Here is one kiwi doctor's view (expressed in a 5 min video): What will yours be?
Euthanasia-Free NZ ran a webinar series on the wider issues related to living and dying well in August 2017, with Amanda Landers speaking on 'What happens to the dying body?' Watch replays here.
Christian Medical Fellowship's Perspective:
For more to explore this issue further, see the links on these following pages:
- Position Statements (from other organisations)
- Recent / Current events (current Bill, Health Select Committee, Seales Court Case)
- Helpful articles/resources (from other organisations)
- Engaging in discussion
Speaking to Others
There is a lot of misunderstanding around what euthanasia is and what this bill is proposing. I (Rosalie) recently talked to a group of people at my church, I was a bit surprised to hear that before my talk one a the senior leaders supported the bill. I changed her mind mainly by explaining that stopping burdensome treatments or not treat an infection in someone who was dying was good medical care, not euthanasia. When she understands that euthanasia was giving medication to purposing cause death and all the problems with abuse, misdiagnosis etc she did not think that should become law. I was also able to put in a plug for advanced care planning and talking to your family about what interventions you would or would not want.
As doctors, we have a lot more knowledge around this subject than most of the general public. We have been at many bedsides and understand that death is usually peaceful not painful. Consider sharing your knowledge with others either in one-on-one conversations that challenge assumptions or to a larger group. If you would like some assistance in preparing a talk or finding resources, please contact Rosalie Evans.
Consider making a donation to Care Alliance
Care Alliance is a coalition of organisation/individuals (of which CMFnz is a member) that aims to nurture better conversations about dying and opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide.
They are planning some more public awareness campaigns in the coming months but needs additional resources to fund this.
Because some of the activities of Care Alliance are considered political, donations to them cannot be claimed back on taxes