Across the ditch in Australia there has recently been a lot of debate over the topic of Euthanasia. The Australian Green party has felt it their moral duty to overturn legislation which stops territorial legislatures from being able to legalise euthanasia.
The Greens have tried to pitch this as a constitutional issue – arguing that States and Territories should have the right to make their own decisions on what laws get made.
Leaving aside the merits of this argument – it is no secret that their underlying agenda is to see euthanasia legalized across Australia, and they see this as an easier solution than trying to get a bill through the Federal Parliament.
David takes a look at some of the fundamental assumptions which are being made in the debate. He comments,
“It was 1995 and our then governor-general, Bill Hayden, was addressing the College of Physicians during debate on the Northern Territory’s euthanasia laws. The scene was significant, since the dual concern with euthanasia is the corruption of the relationship between the state and its most vulnerable citizens, and between doctors and their most vulnerable patients.
Our head of state urged doctors to support euthanasia not only as a right, but also as a positive duty towards society. He reflected on past cultures where the elderly would take their lives when their usefulness had passed, and declared of our own culture: “There is a point when the succeeding generations deserve to be disencumbered of some unproductive burdens.”
David continues after sharing this statement that because of this underlying assumption in the Netherlands where Euthanasia is already illegal, many elderly are being put to death without any explicit request, even when they have the full competency to make an informed decision.
So where are the safeguards? Where will the safeguards be?
David continues making an argument against the pro-euthanasia lobby’s biggest argument that, ‘it is wrong to let our elderly die is severe pain’. He makes it clear that palliative care has advanced rapidly to a place now where ‘enormous progress’ has been made in easing suffering in dying.
We cannot ease all suffering in dying any more than we can ease all suffering in childbirth, even though we have made enormous progress.
Finally the question is posed, ‘isn’t it the responsibility of the law to protect the most vulnerable?’
Euthanasia is not the message we should be sending to our elderly – instead we should be saying as the British House of Lords said in 1996, “The message which society sends to vulnerable and disadvantaged people should not, however obliquely, encourage them to seek death, but should assure them of our care and support in life.”
That is the message I want my country to send.
“A law which fails to protect vulnerable people will always be a bad law.”
A press release from Family First New Zealand
The majority of New Zealanders think women considering abortion have the right to be fully informed of the medical risks of abortion – and the alternatives.
In the poll of 1,000 people undertaken by Curia Market Research this month, respondents were asked “Would you support a law that would require a woman considering an abortion to first see a doctor, who is not an abortion provider, to be informed of the medical risks and alternatives to abortion?”
64% supported this proposed law, 29% disagreed, and the remainder (8%) were either unsure or refused to answer. Interestingly, women were slightly more in favour of this restriction than men. There was also significant support from younger people (18-30).
“Family First NZ is calling for a law which requires informed consent including ultrasound for all potential abortions, and counselling to be provided only by non-providers of abortion services. Parental notification of teenage pregnancy and abortion should happen automatically except in exceptional circumstances approved by the court.” says Family First spokeswoman Marina Young. “A poll last year found almost 80% support for parental notification laws.”
Mrs Young says the poll results fly in the face of recent calls for the complete decriminalisation of abortion.
“It looks like the majority of people believe women have the right to the best independent information and advice before making a decision that could impact them later in life. Decriminalisation – which we virtually have at the moment anyway – will simply place more pressure on women to access an abortion without any need for fully informed consent.”
“The Abortion Supervisory Committee has been rebuked by the High Court recently for not administering the law correctly, and it is time to revisit the abortion-on-demand culture that currently exists in NZ.”
“Abortion can harm women – yet groups seeking to decriminalise abortion refuse to acknowledge this, seeing the right to abortion more paramount than the long-term health and welfare of the women.”
A University of Otago study in 2008 found that women who had an abortion faced a 30% increase in the risk of developing common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Other studies have found a link between abortion and psychiatric disorders ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders. And the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK recommended updating abortion information leaflets to include details of the risks of depression. They said that consent could not be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information.
“With 98% of abortions in NZ being performed on the basis of the mental health of the mother, it is time that the research on the post-abortion mental health outcomes was given equal weight with the pro-abortion claims.”
“Along with protecting the rights of the unborn child, we need to protect the rights of women and young girls to know the medical facts in order that they can make fully informed decisions,” says Mrs Young. “The current safeguards are a small step towards that.”
The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.2%
First I must apologise for how late this is. I will blame it on disruptive seismic activity in Canterbury where I live.
Over the last couple of years the Family Planning Association (the local Planned Parenthood affiliate) has been attempting to get permission to kill babies with RU486, a nasty chemical dangerous to the woman and murderous to the child.
In mid February they decided to withdraw their application to commit chemical abortions. Ignoring the obvious, that abortion kills humans, there were many good reasons to oppose this specific application for Family Planning to commit chemical abortions. These include the potentially fatal danger to women of RU486, the lacklustre facilities Family Planning was going to provide in their Hamilton “clinic”, and the conflict of interest inherent in the relationship between various people involved in both Family Planning and Istar, the group that imports the abortion chemicals.
As we argued back then, Family Planning’s intitiative would not only make abortion safer(earlier = safer), but it would ease some of the access problems many women face, particularly those who don’t live in the main centres.
This statement is ludicrous. No matter the stage of pregnancy, abortion is never safe for the child involved. The desired outcome of an abortion is the death of the child – and death is not safe.
Let me ask a question. Is it negative that I find it difficult to purchase stolen goods, hire a hitman, or get away with rape? No! In that case, why is it bad for a woman to be unable to find someone nearby to kill their child? Why oh why would anyone care that there are access problems for people seeking to murder their children?!
Finally, and still from ALRANZ:
There was a sustained campaign by anti-choice groups, which we argued included the spreading of dangerous misinformation and a U.S.-style campaign targeting Family Planning.
Right to Life, which appears to have broken the news, together with Family First and the student group ProLife NZ were, of course, thrilled.
I would like to thank Right to Life and Family First for helping with this. Also note, ALRANZ is becoming aware of us, and wary. We must be doing something right.
The 21st March is International Down Syndrome Day. It is celebrated around the world to recognise the unique contribution that persons with Down syndrome [DS] make to our community. The aims of the day are to promote awareness and understanding, seek support and to achieve dignity, equal rights and a better life for people with Down syndrome everywhere. People with DS are loved and valued members of their families and are active participants in the educational, social and recreational activities of their community.
As the international community celebrates Down Syndrome Day it is tragic that our own government in February last year introduced a national screening programme to detect babies in the womb who may have DS. The government is confident that it will result in fewer babies being born with DS. Overseas experience indicates that 90 per cent of babies with DS are aborted as a result of the screening programme. Women who have a baby with DS are encouraged to terminate the life of that child.
The government clearly has decided that babies with DS are not welcome in New Zealand. This is eugenics that proclaims that only the perfect may be born. . Right to Life contends that the government has decided that children with Down syndrome are not valued or wanted in our community. Its intention then is to encourage families to abort children with Down syndrome. The insidious option to terminate the life of the child will ultimately become a duty to kill the child before birth.
The screening of unborn babies for Down syndrome with a new national screening programme is a further manifestation of a culture of death. It is a search and destroy programme that has as its sole objective the termination of the lives of unborn children.
Read more at the Right to Life website
The Just Think campaign was put together by a number of our members in Auckland and designed to encourage University Students to think deeply about the fundamental question in the abortion debate, “When does life begin?”
The pamphlet and website campaign which includes a video (below) makes the logical argument that “If abortion is the deliberate ending of a human being’s life, then we should do all in our power to defend those human beings, just as we should call the police if we see someone threatening another person with a knife.”
It also addresses skeptics who might argue ‘well we can’t really be that sure if it is a human being or not,’ by saying that we must err on the side of caution.
“If there is a chance that abortion is the deliberate ending of the life of an innocent human being, then we should err on the side of caution and not permit it.”
Pro-life Auckland handed out thousands of these pamphlets and signed up hundreds of new people to Pro-life Auckland. Over the year the club plans to run regular forums where we will holistically discuss the topic of abortion and strive to raise awareness of the issue on campus.
We will create a pro-life New Zealand together!
The Just Think project is a continuous campaign with more activities happening soon! Watch this space!