Assisted dying: The case against

Readers' letters | Published:

This is a reply to the letter from Lucy Allan, MP, in the Star letters 14 January, supporting the idea of “assisted dying” – or “permitted murder” as it is better named

I am not in favour and my main reason, as a committed Christian, is that it is against God’s Laws. The Ten Commandments state, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exo. 20:13. See also Matt. 5:21 and Rom. 13:9). It does not say, “Thou shalt not kill unless the person is already dying”.

The experience of the Jewish people through history is that when they obeyed God’s Laws they were blessed but when they disobeyed God’s Laws the blessing was withdrawn and things went wrong for them. The Bible says one reason why God chose a special people was to illustrate the blessing of following the one true God. (Psalm 144:15). Note: God does not send evil on people but merely withdraws His blessing – one cannot expect God to bless those who do evil in His sight. Our country is disobeying God in so many ways – and just look at the state of it!

There are other, secular, reasons why “permitted murder” is not a good idea, briefly mentioned as follows:

  1. From where does one get the right to end one’s life?
  2. People will misuse the right to die if it is granted – it will be impossible to prevent this. In Belgium three doctors are being prosecuted for unlawfully poisoning an end-of-life person.
  3. Some may recover even after an extended period in a coma – there are examples – but not if killed off. People have recovered from a coma to say that they heard doctors/family discussing withdrawing life support!
  4. Some may recover from a medical condition given time and treatment. A child from which doctors wanted to withdraw life support was taken to Italy for treatment after the High Court agreed and is now doing well.
  5. The right to die will be extended in time – like abortion has! In Belgium and Holland it started with end-of-life old folk and now includes children. Liberal minded people will always try to extend legal rights.
  6. Very old or terminally ill folk will be pressurised by their family to agree to die – to save care costs and the effort to look after them.
  7. It will eventually be extended to those with incurable mental illness.
  8. Vulnerable people will be at risk despite “robust protections”.

Seeing someone take time to die at the end of their life is sad (I have been through this twice) but in almost all cases palliative and/or hospice care prevents undue suffering and it is a far better route than simply killing off people. It may not always be perfect but many people suffer at death when help is not at hand – this is a part of life end which is unavoidable.

David Steel is known to many as the man who introduced the killing of unborn babies. Does Lucy Allan want to be known as the person who introduced the killing of old and ill folk? As a society we should be giving the right care (not always extending life unnaturally) rather than killing off people.

Do we really want to be a society where we are lawfully killing people at both ends of their lives? As a society, where has our respect for life gone?

Richard Camp, Wellington

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