My own mother died from an overdose of morphine delivered in the hospital.
Back in 1984 my mother was suffering from metastasised breast cancer. My brother and I were summoned down to Christchurch. I will never forget our mother telling us that she had chosen to die. While others in the family went home I stayed with my mother and was there when a nurse came round to administer a morphine injection; within a short period of time she slipped into a coma and died 18 hours later.
So, euthanasia and assisted dying has been with us for a long time under the carpet and no one thought, until 35 years later to pass legislation.
There have always been independent thinkers who decided for themselves that they had a moral right to end their own lives, painlessly and with dignity. There is no question that this was an independent decision that did not come from people around them trying to influence them: they actually had to go to the trouble of importing something like Nembutal, (technically-illegal) and administering it themselves.
It seems to me that for many years there was little or no trouble with this situation until the police decided to stomp on this practise and spied on meetings of Exit International in Wellington and to arrest Suzie Austen for assisting an elderly woman in a nursing home in procuring a banned substance.
Suzie was acquited of all charges laid against her and euthanasia was a central part of public debate.
As a result a watered-down End of Life Choice Act (EOLCA) was passed in 2020 by Jacinda Adern’s Labour government which permits both euthanasia and assisted suicide for adults suffering from an illness which would be terminal within six months, or who were in an advanced state of irreversible physical decline or who were suffering unbearably.
My opinion was that this Bill was designed to provide some rights for those want to end their own lives but it scarcely does that.
I doubt that it has just gone back to the previous status quo.
No doubt they are coming down hard on those that try to import nembutal. But it is not about that; it appears that it is not about such independent acts of people thinking for themselves but about “assisted dying” carried out by doctors.
In response to a request for clarity on a euthanasia law which came into force last month, the government declared that “in some circumstances a person with COVID-19 may be eligible for assisted dying”. There is that word, eligible that Jacinda refers to her.
She is going to go after the unvaccinated just so long as there are “eligible” people out there. It transpires that an anti-euthanasia group, the Defender made an application under the Freedom of Information Act for clarification of the Act.
Basically, the government came back and confirmed that “in some circumstances a person with COVID-19 may be eligible for assisted dying”.The justification was the usual government DoubleSpeak:
“There are clear eligibility criteria for assisted dying. These include that a person must have a terminal illness that is likely to end their life within six months.”
But then their justification comes with two words that could be easily overlooked.
“A terminal illness is most often a prolonged disease where treatment is not effective. The EOLC Act states eligibility is determined by the attending medical practitioner (AMP), and the independent medical practitioner.”
These were the words in the article that caught my eye.
Doctors receive a government fee of $1,000 plus expenses for every euthanasia death they perform
Despite the incentives it seems that just 96 of the country’s 16,000 doctors have offered to participate, however, and all but one of the nation’s 32 hospices have indicated that they will not permit euthanasia and the one exception – Totara Hospice in South Auckland – has agreed to allocate space on its premises for the practice while its staff will conscientiously object to any participation.
Those of you who have been following this blog will be aware of all the stories of people with other conditions were diagnosed with covid-19 and put on a respirator and remesdevir, something that has been , for many, a sentence of death. Also there are the stories on how the government increased their stocks of the sedative, end-of-life drug, midazolam which was reportedly used to prematurely end the lives of thousands in the UK who we were told died of Covid-19.
It is a shocking story and one that, if we read between the lines, seems destined to be repeated in this country once the death toll goes much beyond the 50 people who have been recorded as dying WITH Covid.
So, now we have a government perverting a piece of legislation for its own nefarious purposes.
That brings me to a more general point. Throughout my life I have never once voted for a conservative or right-wing party because I have always believed fervently that the weak and vulnerable should be protected. Governments of both colours have long since given up protecting the vulnerable and have passed “progressive” legislation instead.
Examples of this for me have been:
- this government legislating to “update” abortion legislation to include provisions for the “rare” full-term abortion.
- The government pretending to liberalise the availability of medicinal marijuana while they arrested those “pink fairies” who provided those in need with medicinal marijuana cheaply and amending the regulations to hand out a monopoly to just one firm in Canada, banning the products of companies on “safety” grounds of companies that have never had any regulatory problems anywhere else in the world. Consequently, cannabis oil is only available from a few outlets and has been priced well beyond the means of those who need it most.
Now, we have this government interfering with every aspect of people’s lives to the extent that it seems we are heading for a situation where unless something is specifically ALLOWED by government legislation it is ILLEGAL.
Throughout much of my life people have known the difference between Right and Wrong through religion, values education and the like.
If our own conscience or moral compass failed us there was always Common Law.
My principle has always been if what I do does not harm anyone else (or the world around us) it is Right.
We did not need to be told by government how we should lead our lives.
But now those of us who do have a conscience, who know the difference between Right and Wrong but eschew government mandates because they represent the polar opposite of non-harming are, in the Covid age are finding themselves on the wrong side of the Law.
I have one message to this government:
Stay out of our lives!