Like the pro-abortion lobby back in the day, the proponents of legalising euthanasia never give up.

Within weeks of the election, Labour's Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway has taken over responsibility for the End of Life Choice Bill after sponsor Maryan Street failed to get re-elected.

He is gauging support in the new Parliament before deciding whether to put it back in the private members' bill ballot.

I bet he does. The bill would allow people aged 18 or over to be helped to die if they were proved mentally competent by two doctors, after consultation with family, and after a "stand-down" period of a week.

Advertisement

I have written on this subject before, but it pays to remind ourselves of the murderous consequences of legalising suicide. And as one who has terminal cancer I reckon I have the right.

I have no fear of death; I will go, I hope willingly, when the Lord calls my name. That day is not far ahead.

I do, however, retain my concern about the nature of my passing, but the last thing I will do is selfishly permit someone to break the Sixth Commandment, "You shall not kill", and thus place himself or herself in eternal jeopardy.

Euthanasia is defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as "the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable disease or in an irreversible coma".

The dictionary defines murder as "the unlawful premeditated killing of one person by another". So logic dictates that, stripped of all the emotive claptrap that surrounds the word euthanasia, it is in fact murder.

I am persuaded that one of the fundamental reasons for all the killings and violence we read about almost daily is that our traditional belief in the sanctity of life has been diluted, by open-slather abortion as much as anything else, to such an extent that, even in what we fondly call civilisation, life is becoming cheap.

Back in the late 1970s when abortion was "decriminalised" many people predicted that abortion on demand would soon follow. But never in our wildest nightmares did we foresee that the abortion law reform would give birth to a multimillion-dollar industry, putting to death up to 18,000-odd potential Kiwis every year.

And the same thing will happen if euthanasia is legalised. For evidence of that we just have to look at the Netherlands, where 30 years ago the Dutch Supreme Court ruled voluntary euthanasia was acceptable, provided doctors followed strict guidelines.

Ten years later, the British House of Lords formed a select committee to study first-hand voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands. The committee consisted of eminent medical professionals, 80 per cent of them predisposed to the idea of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

However, after visiting the Netherlands, the select committee published its findings and Lord Walton of Detchant wrote the conclusion in February of 1994. This is what he said, and it should be memorised by every MP and every member of our medical profession:

"We concluded that it was virtually impossible to ensure that all acts of euthanasia were truly voluntary, and that any liberalisation of the law in the United Kingdom could not be abused.

"We were also concerned that vulnerable people - the elderly, lonely, sick or distressed - would feel pressure, whether real or imagined, to request early death."

One of the members of the committee later revealed that its members had met a Dutch "euthanasia doctor" on the last day of their visit. They asked him how he felt administering the lethal injection. He replied:

"The night before the first time, I couldn't sleep. The second time, it wasn't so bad - and after the third (he grinned) it was a piece of cake."

The select committee stood appalled. "We had just witnessed," said one, "the 'slippery slope' personified."

Nowadays, advances in medical science, in painkilling drugs and palliative care, ensure that 95 per cent of people who die of terminal illnesses die as comfortably as humanly possible.

We need do no more. Britain does not have legal euthanasia to this day. Nor should we.


Garth George is a veteran newspaper journalist, retired and living in Rotorua.
garth.george@hotmail.com