Cross-posted from HOPE
The Hobart Mercury today (Saturday 5th October 2013) ran a feature on their letters page under the title: Modern Medicine can control pain.
Six great letters from local Tasmanians responding to the Euthanasia Bill appear below:
from Martin Webb:
One argument for euthanasia is that people should not have to writhe in pain in the final days of their life. Only a heartless idealist would want this to be the case.
However, when I heard Dr Paul Dunne (former head of Tasmania’s Palliative Care) speak on this matter last year he explicitly said pain-relief medications are good enough to ensure that no patient need live in such a state. the worst-case scenario is the patient rendered semi-conscious or unconscious. No one need die in pain. The side effects of euthanasia legislation are of far greater concern.
How can we be absolutely certain proper consent was given? How can we be sure there was no coercion? We can’t – that’s the experience from overseas and I see nothing in this bill that will guarantee this won’t happen here.
from Brigid McKenna:
It’s amazing what human rights lawyers can do these days. Greg Barns seems to have invented another human right – the right to die on one’s own terms (Mercury, September 30). We all have a legal right to choose to refuse overly burdensome or medically futile treatment. There is, however, no human right to be killed of assisted to kill oneself. Nowhere in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will you find mention of a right to euthanasia or assisted suicide. Mr Barns insults doctors when he suggests we leave people to “writhe in pain every minute of every day.”
from Jim Collins:
Greg Barns’s passionate pleas for mercy killing blurs the reality – promoting death can never be a sound option for society.Without considering the true impacts on our culture, euthanasia advocates risk being judge, jury and executioner – while burying deeper issues.Tasmanian teenagers wrestle with some of the highest youth suicide rates in our land. What safeguards can prevent death becoming their favoured option, if we legalise and promote euthanasia?Surely we can do better than this for the sick and suffering in our community. Better resourced support, care and true compassion are what our medics and caring professions need – not to be armed with lethal injections. Laws that legalise killing patients can never be safe.
from Eric Lockett:
The latest euthanasia bill before Tasmanian Parliament claims any action taken to deliberately end someone’s life in accordance with its provisions “does not, for any purpose, constitute suicide, assisted suicide, killing, mercy killing, homicide, murder or manslaughter.” What Orwellian gobbledegook. It may as well declare that gravity pulls upwards. If the bill isn’t even honest about its real intentions, how much trust can we put in its proponents’ assurances that only good can come of it?
Despite their denials, there is strong evidence from places such as Belgium that, once the gate is opened, euthanasia will come to be regarded as an easy solution to all sorts of problems. There is even evidence around half of Belgium’s victims are euthanased without their consent. This Tasmanian bill has set us on the slippery slope by extending its provisions beyond those with terminal illnesses. The unspoken message to the weak and vulnerable will be, as their lives no longer have value, it is their duty to acquiesce. Instead, we should show genuine compassion by standing by then in their final days. What they need is assurance their lives are precious, not confirmation they are worthless.
from Sheila Reynolds:
We know politicians will say anything to get attention, but the statement attributed to Lara Giddings that terminally ill people would have to make a huge effort to uproot themselves from other parts of Australia to move to Tasmania to commit assisted suicide is almost beyond belief. She went on to say that these unfortunate individuals need only be residents in Tasmania for a month, hardly what you would call long-term residents who would boost our population. This shows how ludicrous such a serious topic as euthanasia has become.
from Campbell Markham:
In the year to June 2012, the Tasmanian coroner reported 77 suicides, 23 per cent more than the previous year, and 28 per cent more than two years prior. And it’s well known that we have the second highest youth suicide rate in the nation. So how do Ms Giddings and Mr McKim respond to these tragic facts? With a determined push for legalised killing.
Support services link our growing suicide rate to job losses and financial stress, and the relationship strain that this brings. We implore our government to stop messing with social issues, to roll up its sleeves, and to grow jobs and economic security for families. That’s what we pay you to do. That’s what we need.