NRL News

Broad Alliance launched to oppose legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide in New Zealand

by | Mar 21, 2014


Care AllianceA coalition, assembled to oppose the legalization of euthanasia and assisted-suicide in New Zealand, was formally launched Thursday at a function at Parliament.

The Care Alliance is an umbrella organisation that brings together a wide range of voices from across the palliative, medical, youth, elderly, disability, bioethics and faith sectors who are opposed to euthanasia.

The Alliance was established in 2012 in opposition to the poorly written, confusing and flawed End of Life Choice Bill proposed by a Labour MP which has since been withdrawn following political pressure.

Maggie Barry

Maggie Barry

“As long as there is a political intent to legalize euthanasia in New Zealand, we need to be vigilant,” said Care Alliance co-founder Maggie Barry. “The Care Alliance will oppose any efforts to legalize euthanasia or assisted-suicide.”

“Although the latest Bill has been withdrawn for political reasons, there remains an active intent to re-submit it to the Ballot at the earliest possible convenience. We will continue to oppose any progress to legalize euthanasia because a law change will inevitably have unintended consequences for all vulnerable New Zealanders and their families, it puts lives at risk and reduces choice,” said Ms Barry.

“Our key concern is the long-term consequences for public safety. This is not an issue for just a few. Regardless of personal beliefs, all New Zealanders would be affected by the public safety consequences of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide,” said Dr. Sinéad Donnelly, a palliative care physician.

“Legalizing euthanasia goes against the core values of the medical profession and will radically change the doctor-patient relationship, ultimately undermining good clinical and palliative care. It will devalue the lives of the elderly and people living with disabilities, and increase the risk of abuse among the most vulnerable New Zealanders,” said Dr Donnelly.

“No legislation can protect against abuse. The best safeguard against abuse is prohibition,” said bioethicist Dr. John Kleinsman.

“Over the coming months, we will continue to have conversations with New Zealanders about their concerns around euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

“The Care Alliance supports increased investment in excellent end of life care for those who are dying and for support of their families. We will work to oppose any law changes that hurt, rather than protect, those New Zealanders who are our most vulnerable.”