I know, I’ve been gone a long while. Life and work commitments, I’m afraid. But the the choice to have a euthanasia option, should I get dealt a bad hand, is important to me, so below is the submission I’ve sent today to the Justice Committee (New Zealand) hearing on David Seymour’s important End of Life Choice Bill.
[The gorgeous feature painting is by Chris Chalk, it’s contemporary and of the Pembrockshire Coast Path, Wales.]
Submission: End of Life Choice Bill.
Submitter: Mark Hubbard.
This submission asks for the End of Life Choice Bill to be passed into legislation, despite I truly can’t figure out why I have to ask – or plead a case – for such a basic right over my own body. The ability to die with dignity is a choice I want. As importantly, it is a choice that is my right, and should not be up to a conscience vote of 144 members of parliament who are as far from the concerns of my life, or representing them, as could be.
I would have written a long submission listing cases of those I know who have died in situations they did not want, some of them dreadful, for whom palliative care, and opiate painkillers, that is, morphine – in absence of medical cannabis – simply were not an adequate solution, and never would have been: the last being a man who died of throat cancer over six years, and who finally, in desperation, starved himself to death. But I’m keeping this submission short for two reasons:
- I have run out of time with work commitments through to the end of March.
- I have little faith, anymore, in Parliamentary process or governance vis a vis a rights based society, given the way seminary trained MP Simon O’Connor previously, and so cynically, sabotaged his own select committee on the petition in support of Maryan Street’s excellent euthanasia bill by exhorting in Catholic publications for parishioners to submit against, hence all the one sentence submissions from the churches that distorted the for and against percentages to that committee away from the 70% to 80% of Kiwis who want this option according to scientific polling over a long period of time. I wasted a week of my Christmas holiday making a submission to that previous select committee which was a sham, its only purpose to ensure the debate never made it into Parliament. (O’Connor is not fit to be serving in Parliament in any capacity in my opinion.) But, anyway, here we go again, with Chloe Swarbrick’s medicinal cannabis bill not allowed to be debated to even first reading, and we plebs not given the opportunity of submission on that, and now forlornly trying to get David Seymour’s dying with dignity bill into law. I suspect this submission is similarly as pointless as to O’Connor’s farce, because we don’t have representation where it matters in New Zealand, but I will ensure there are two ticks in favour of this bill, regardless.
I only need say the following:
Please include this submission – and similar from my wife if she had time to write one – as a request from two individuals for this Bill to be made law so we have the choice to die with dignity, noting that myself, or my wife, having the choice in no way affects the choices of those with religious belief, or whatever, to die in the manner they see fit. Again, as I’m not affecting the choices of those against voluntary euthanasia, I do not understand why they get to effectively bully my choices via the State – the State’s role, surely, is to protect all of our rights and choices.
I write this submission as very well read on this topic, noting how well euthanasia works in those jurisdictions it is legal, with safeguards working to such a comprehensive extent there is no court case on abuse of euthanasia in any of those jurisdictions. I am disheartened in this debate to constantly see the against-camp in New Zealand stating this will lead to some sort of genocide of the elderly and disabled: it has not anywhere else, it will not here, especially in the limited circumstances provided for in this bill: this tactic is scare-mongering, and frankly, as infantile as despicable.
Note I refer to this as euthanasia, not assisted suicide which the against-camp use in their emotive – not reasoned – campaign against individuals having choice. To want to die when in pain or indignity – however an individual measures that for themselves – within the last twelve months of a terminal illness is not suicide as we understand that term: it is the choice to die with dignity. Indeed, those who foolishly conflate this issue with suicide serve only to cheapen the very important debate on suicide.
Finally, I know – and read Matt Vickers blog (partner of Lecretia Seales) for yourselves – that there are many doctors and workers – largely silenced – who work in palliative care in New Zealand who would voluntarily offer this service. In fact we all know that unofficially there has always been a merciful euthanasia in New Zealand, indeed, another reason for this law is to protect doctors in cases such as this (allowing open discussion with the dying, not furtive back-room conversations with family). The New Zealand Medical Association unlike its overseas counterparts refuses to poll its own membership on this issue and despite make sweeping pronouncements against euthanasia in the media, and no doubt to this committee, does not speak for all doctors and medical staff. I have been in correspondence with two former chairs of the NZMA, both Christians who were against euthanasia on religious grounds. That is not good enough.
And that is enough. Give me the choice, please. Because, in fact, none of you have the right to deny me, or the majority of Kiwis you are supposed to represent, this choice.
Thank you. Mark Hubbard.
My libertairan friend, Peter Cresswell, put the above submission up on his blog, NotPC, and a commenter to that post called Craig put his submission up in comments. That submission contains the following pertinent summarising paragraph:
Some of the Members of Parliament who spoke against the first reading of this bill objected on cultural/religious grounds saying that the act of dying made the surviving family stronger – essentially saying that suffering is a virtue. I vehemently disagree. To argue that someone should suffer horrendous pain just so a whanau can go through a bonding experience shows complete moral corruption. Those Members (and this includes the immediate past Prime Minister) whose religious or cultural beliefs have blinded them so much that they would make such an argument should abstain from voting on this bill.