Euthanasia campaigner appeals to public for support

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1 NEWS

The euthanasia debate has fired up again with an alliance of religious and medical groups urging caution after a euthanasia campaigner called for more submissions to Parliament in support of a change in the law.

Following a petition to Parliament to consider voluntary euthanasia, its health select committee is taking public submissions on the matter, and they close in two weeks on February 1.

Matt Vickers, whose wife Lecretia Seales died from a brain tumour while campaigning for euthanasia, is calling on people to make a submission.

For the first time in history, a Health Select Committee is considering doctor-assisted death.
Source: 1 NEWS

He's concerned that submissions to the select committee so far are split about 50-50. 

This after a ONE News poll taken last year after Ms Seales died found 75 per cent of voters think a person who is terminally or incurably ill should be able to request the assistance of a doctor to end their life. 

"I'd really strongly recommend anyone who followed Lecretia's case, anyone who had any sympathy for her situation, anyone who cares about the fate of terminally ill New Zealanders, to make a submission," Mr Vickers said.

But the Care Alliance, made up of religious, medical and social groups, wants submitters to consider if vulnerable people would be put at risk.

"We have terrible statistics in New Zealand around elder abuse," said Matthew Jansen, Care Alliance secretary.

"It's at least 10 per cent and probably a lot higher. And that's financial abuse and physical abuse and emotional abuse."

Mr Vickers, though, is confident that with strong safeguards the risk of coercion can be eliminated. 

"And the thing about these safeguards is we don't need a law to make this easy, we need a law to make this quite difficult for people to access, I think," he said.

If you want to make a written submission go Parliament's website.

Or email health@parliament.govt.nz


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