There are numerous situations where men and women are in positions of responsibility to the community, where their personal opinions, beliefs, convictions must be put aside. All those presiding over courts in civil, criminal, environmental cases are trusted to apply their wits, their listening skills, ethics, their knowledge, and are duty bound to put justice first.
Simon O'Connor MP has been appointed to chair the Health Select Committee addressing the issue of assisted dying where a terminal illness or unbearable suffering is the case.
Of course he has personal opinions about this issue and for a man who spent a decade training to be a Catholic priest, his beliefs are undoubtedly well ingrained.
But to give an interview to NZ Catholic magazine during this time of hearing submissions and to state "Being an impartial chair does not necessitate putting aside one's own views", shows crass ignorance of ethics.
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He needs to understand that there are times when it is ethical to put aside some cherished moral value. And this is one of those times if he is to engender any sort of trust in the legal and parliamentary process.
"I do not support the killing of another human being. Suicide is never the answer to any problem. It is not the solution for a teenager, a farmer, a depressed person or someone with a terminal illness."
There is nowhere any suggestion in the petition or in the proposed Bill, that assisted dying is for teenagers, farmers, depressed people.
Simon O'Connor is deliberately fanning the fire of ignorance by mentioning these at all. He is harming the parliamentary process which we have to rely on for judicial practices.
Simon O'Connor should step down from chairing this Health Select Committee, in fact I would have more faith in the process if he left the committee altogether.
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