Bias, Bigotry, And Euthanasia | Scoop News – Scoop.co.nz

Thursday, 8 October 2020, 9:34 amArticle: New Zealand Christian Network


Arguably one of the most revealingpublic debates taking place in New Zealand over the lastweek was one on newshub nation, between Dr Sinead Donnelly(a medical specialist with extensive experience ofpalliative care and dying people in four countries, and aSenior Lecturer at Otago University Wellington) and DavidSeymour (a politician, and campaigner for the End of LifeChoice Act). You can watch it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJHdQM460wQ&feature=youtu.be&t=668

Withdeep feeling, Dr Donnelly stated her view and that of manyother medical professionals that the End of Life Choice Actis an unsafe and dangerous law, which could imperilthe lives of thousands of vulnerable people every year. Shereferred to how many doctors see the Act as entirelyineffective in safeguarding against coercion, which isimpossible to detect, as it is often an internalisation offelt external pressures and suggestions. Mr Seymourresponded asserted that the safeguards were rigorous,but unconvincingly.

What was especially shocking aboutthe interview was that Mr Seymour accused Dr Donnelly ofjust making up false objections in an attempt tomislead, and that she should just come out and honestlyadmit that her objections to euthanasia are all based on herreligious views. This accusation was obviously deeplyoffensive to Dr Donnelly. She replied that her objectionswere entirely based on her clinical experience and the viewsof many others doctors and lawyers that the Act was veryunsafe. She also said that Mr Seymours accusation wasdisgraceful sectarian comment and bigotry at itsutmost.

A week or so earlier, Mr Seymour had takena similar approach in his response to a statement of theCatholic Bishops. Instead of addressing their points aboutthe lack of strong safeguards in the Act, he said that thebishops may have a philosophical view that life belongsto God, but they don't have the right to force it onothers. He added that that if the bishops want theirfreedoms respected, they need to engage in honest debatethat respects others have difference choices from theirs.Again, the implication was that religious people are beingdishonest in the reasons they give for opposing the End ofLife Choice Act, and that their criticisms should bedisregarded.

So is it true that it is onlyreligious people who oppose the End of Life ChoiceAct? No, clearly not. Is it true that many religiouspeople do oppose it? Yes. Is their objection onreligious grounds? To a significant extent, yes:religious people have a very high regard for theGod-given value of human life, and many of them prioritisethe care of vulnerable people over their own individualfreedoms. Should religious people be free to hold andarticulate their views publically? Absolutely yes. Arereligious people somehow being deceitful orscaremongering in exposing the weaknesses and dangers inthis Act? No, these are entirely valid critiques. Arereligious people seeking to impose their own personalreligious morality on society? No, they are making alegitimate ethical case that this Act is not safe forsociety in the long run, especially for societys old,sick, frail, and disabled; the care of societysvulnerable is certainly a moral issue, and all members ofsociety depend on that for our own safety. Is a society thatdismisses religious viewpoints going to be safe foranyone? We think not.


There is a common beliefin New Zealand society at the moment, particularly aroundthe current referendum questions, that because New Zealandis a secular society any argument that is largely promotedby Christians is invalid, even if the argument only invokessecular reasons and not Christian ones. The assumption seemsto be that because Christians are motivated by theirChristian principles, their arguments should be consideredsuspect. Why? Because even when Christians are givingsecular reasons for arguing something they are approachingmatters with a Christian bias and their argument musttherefore be rejected as unsound and irrelevant. But is thisfair? Not at all!

What does it even mean to truly be asecular society? There is debate about that. But thebest definition of a secular society, and the most inclusiveone, is that the State should be neutral in all mattersconcerning religion. In such a society, people are free toworship or not worship as they please. Secularism means theState must not favour one faith over another. Just asimportantly (and this is the key point that manynon-religious secularists miss), a secular State should notfavour non-religion over religion (or vice-versa).Non-religious secularists make a mistake when they assumethat secularism means the State should value non-religionover religion. Favouring non-religion is not truesecularism, it is just being anti-religious. And beinganti-religious is in itself a religious view.

Mostnon-religious people tend to believe that all religions arerelative: that most religions contain some truths (e.g. loveyour neighbour), but the idea that one is ultimately anduniquely true seems definitely false. They may cite theclassic story of the elephant and the blind men, orsomething like it:

No religion has all the truth.Every religion is like six blind men grabbing an elephant.One blind man grabs the trunk and says, God is like ahose. Another blind man grabs the elephants leg andsays, No, God is more like a tree stump. Anotherperson grabs the elephants tail and says, No, God ismore like a string. So, you see, every religion has partof the truth, but nobody sees all the truth.

Thefatal flaw with this story is that the only waynon-religious persons could possibly know that everyreligion has part of the truth, but not most or all of it,is if non-religious persons themselves see the wholepicture. The only way they could know that that allreligions and their adherents are blind is if theythemselves were not blind. The only way a non-religiousperson can say, Nobody has superior religiousknowledge is if they themselves have the superiorreligious knowledge which they have just said nobody elsehas.

The whole point of a secular society is that theState cannot and should not make that kind of claim abouteither religion or non-religion. A secular State must remainneutral, and in the public square religious andnon-religious people should be allowed to promote theirworldviews and make their arguments as they see fit. Ofcourse, in a secular democracy, if a Christian hopes toconvince an Atheist, or Hindu convince a Christian, or anAtheist convince a Muslim, of a particular policy, argumentsbased on presuppositions that all parties agree with will bemore effective. But to write off arguments just because theycome from Christians, or Muslims, or Atheists, is a form ofthe genetic fallacy.

A genetic fallacy is a logicalfallacy where one judges something as either good or bad onthe basis of where it comes from, or from whom it came. Thisfallacy avoids the argument by shifting focus ontosomething's or someone's origins. It's similar to an adhominem fallacy in that it leverages existing negativeperceptions to make someone's argument look bad, withoutactually presenting a case for why the argument itselflacks merit. Any reasoning that uses a logical fallacyas its basis should be abandoned.

In conclusion then,the common belief that because New Zealand is a secularsociety any argument that is largely promoted by Christiansis invalid, even if the argument only invokes secularreasons and not Christian ones, is based on amisunderstanding of secularism and is a logical fallacy.Secularism does not mean the State should be anti-religionor that no religion should be allowed in the public square.Secularism, at its best and most inclusive, means the State,and thus the public square, should be neutral towardsreligious claims. It is this form of secularism that willallow all Kiwis a part to play in our democraticinstitutions, from Atheist, to Muslim, to Hindu, to theChristian, and everyone else aswell.

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Bias, Bigotry, And Euthanasia | Scoop News - Scoop.co.nz

Euthanasia referendum: A GP’s perspective on the End of Life Choice Act – Stuff.co.nz

OPINION: In the lead up to the election, I feel compelled to add my perspective on the upcoming referendum on euthanasia. I have had some 30 years working in General Practice and one case I recall in particular helped shape my thoughts on how I will vote.

A few years ago, I was asked to do a house call for an issue related to a patient's terminal illness. To protect this patient's identity, I will refer to him as 'Jack'. He was actually my partner's patient, but as a GP in practice with my partner it fell to me to care for his patients when he was away on leave.

During the visit Jack requested me to help him end his life rather than continue to suffer from his degenerative condition.

While he was clearly fearful, he was lucid, fully aware of what he was requesting of me and he made his case in a logical, compelling manner.


GP Erich Kusel says there is one terminally ill patient he will never forget. (File photo).

READ MORE:*Euthanasia referendum: What is assisted dying?*Euthanasia referendum: Views on the End of Life vote*Euthanasia referendum: An oncologist's perspective*Euthanasia referendum: 'The proposed law isn't watertight'

He'd been diagnosed some years prior but, in recent times, had deteriorated considerably and was becoming increasingly dependent. As I found out later, he had made the same request of his usual GP on a number of occasions: he wanted medical help to end his life before his incapacity became extreme. He had a good understanding of his condition. He knew what was to be his likely mode of death and this clearly filled him with an understandable degree of fear of how things would be for him at the end.

Of course, I couldn't comply. After my house call, I never saw Jack again. My partner had done all he possibly could. Jack had full community and medical support in place. However, despite his physical limitations, he died alone having committed suicide some weeks later.

To this day I believe Jack was gravely let down, not only by myself, but also by the wider medical community. His dire action of suicide is stark, silent proof of failure to provide a humane end for a patient who had so earnestly asked for help. I believe Jack should have had the option of an assisted death.

Had such an option been available to him, he could have lived his final months with an easy mind and faced his end in the presence of, and being supported by, family and friends.

I believe my views are shared by many doctors. I have doctors in my own family who agree with me. They, among others, acknowledge the tragic consequences that follow from the lack of a humane law that would fill the one gap that is missing from current end of life options.

I have studied the End of Life Choice Act and find the eligibility criteria clear and uncomplicated. I can think of patient cases that would have fitted the criteria although most would not. The required process in my opinion is detailed and rigorous.

I acknowledge my discomfort in making my opinion public.However, if this helps other doctors reconsider the harm done to their patients and their whanau/family when the law obliges doctors to turn a blind eye to terminal suffering, then any personal discomfort is more than worth it. I feel I owe it to Jack to speak up.

Dr Erich Kusel MbChb (Otago), Dip Obs, FRNZCGP is medical practitioner currently working in the Wellington region.

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Euthanasia referendum: A GP's perspective on the End of Life Choice Act - Stuff.co.nz

Holy See releases 25-page document to ‘reaffirm as definitive teaching that euthanasia is a crime against human life’ – Catholic Leader

Right to life: A patient is pictured in a file photo chatting with a nun at Rosary Hill Home, a Dominican-run facility in Hawthorne, New York, that provides palliative care to people with incurable cancer and have financial need. Photo: CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz [/captions]

WITH the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia in many countries, and questions concerning what is morally permissible regarding end-of-life care, the Holy Sees doctrinal office released a 25-page letter offering a moral and practical clarification on the care of vulnerable patients.

The Church is convinced of the necessity to reaffirm as definitive teaching that euthanasia is a crime against human life because, in this act, one chooses directly to cause the death of another innocent human being, the document said.

Titled, Samaritanus bonus: On the Care of Persons in the Critical and Terminal Phases of Life, the letter by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was approved by Pope Francis in June, and released to the public on September 22.

A new systematic pronouncement by the Holy See was deemed necessary given a growing, global trend in legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide, and changing attitudes and rules that harmed the dignity of vulnerable patients, congregation prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria said at a news conference on September 22.

It was also necessary to reaffirm Church teaching regarding the administration of the sacraments to and pastoral care of patients who expressly requested a medical end to their life, he said.

In order to receive absolution in the sacrament of Penance, as well as with the Anointing of the Sick and the Viaticum, he said, the patients must demonstrate their intention to reverse their decision to end their life and to cancel their registration with any group appointed to grant their desire for euthanasia or assisted suicide.

In the letters section on Pastoral discernment toward those who request euthanasia or assisted suicide, it said a priest could administer the sacraments to an unconscious person sub condicione if, on the basis of some signal given by the patient beforehand, he can presume his or her repentance.

The Churchs ministers can still accompany patients who have made these end-of-life directives, it added, by showing a willingness to listen and to help, together with a deeper explanation of the nature of the sacrament, in order to provide the opportunity to desire and choose the sacrament up to the last moment.

It is important to carefully look for adequate signs of conversion, so that the faithful can reasonably ask for the reception of the sacraments. To delay absolution is a medicinal act of the Church, intended not to condemn, but to lead the sinner to conversion, it said.

However, it added, those who spiritually assist these persons should avoid any gesture, such as remaining until the euthanasia is performed, that could be interpreted as approval of this action.

Chaplains, too, must show care in the health care systems where euthanasia is practised, for they must not give scandal by behaving in a manner that makes them complicit in the termination of human life, the letter said.

Another warning in the letter regarded medical end-of-life protocols, such as do not resuscitate orders or physician orders for life-sustaining treatment and any of their variations.

These protocols were initially thought of as instruments to avoid aggressive medical treatment in the terminal phases of life. Today, these protocols cause serious problems regarding the duty to protect the life of patients in the most critical stages of sickness, it said.

On the one hand, it said medical staff feel increasingly bound by the self-determination expressed in patient declarations that deprive physicians of their freedom and duty to safeguard life even where they could do so.

On the other hand, in some health care settings, concerns have recently arisen about the widely reported abuse of such protocols viewed in a euthanistic perspective with the result that neither patients nor families are consulted in final decisions about care, it said.

This happens above all in the countries where, with the legalisation of euthanasia, wide margins of ambiguity are left open in end-of-life law regarding the meaning of obligations to provide care.

The Church, however, is obliged to intervene in order to exclude once again all ambiguity in the teaching of the magisterium concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide, even where these practices have been legalised, it said.

Euthanasia involved an action or an omission which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all pain may in this way be eliminated.

Its definition depended on the intention of the will and in the methods used, it added.

The letter reaffirmed that any formal or immediate material co-operation in such an act is a grave sin against human life, making euthanasia an act of homicide that no end can justify and that does not tolerate any form of complicity or active or passive collaboration.

For that reason, those who approve laws of euthanasia and assisted suicide, therefore, become accomplices of a grave sin that others will execute. They are also guilty of scandal because by such laws they contribute to the distortion of conscience, even among the faithful.

The letter also underlined a patients right to decline aggressive medical treatment and die with the greatest possible serenity and with ones proper human and Christian dignity intact when approaching the natural end of life.

The renunciation of treatments that would only provide a precarious and painful prolongation of life can also mean respect for the will of the dying person as expressed in advanced directives for treatment, excluding however every act of a euthanistic or suicidal nature, it said.

However, it also underlined the rights of physicians as never being a mere executor of the will of patients or their legal representatives, but retains the right and obligation to withdraw at will from any course of action contrary to the moral good discerned by conscience.

Other aspects of end-of-life care the letter detailed included: the obligation to provide basic care of nutrition and hydration; the need for holistic palliative care; support for families and hospice care; the required accompaniment and care for unborn and newly-born children diagnosed with a terminal disease; the use of deep palliative sedation; obligation of care for patients in a vegetative state or with minimal consciousness; and conscientious objection by health care workers.

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Holy See releases 25-page document to 'reaffirm as definitive teaching that euthanasia is a crime against human life' - Catholic Leader

Why Should Euthanasia be Legally Permitted in the Middle East? – Egyptian Streets

Why Should Euthanasia be Legally Permitted in the Middle East?

Euthanasia refers merciful killing, in Greek. It is a process that comprises several forms, such as active, passive (suspending treatment), voluntary (with the patients approval), involuntary (with a caretakers consent), and physician aided.

The practice has sparked a storm of controversy around the world; some countries, namely Middle Eastern countries, view it as premeditated murder while other countries regard it as a dignified death for the irredeemably ill.

Death is sometimes the only available portal for eliminating intolerable suffering that cannot be mitigated otherwise. The existence of unbearable agony, as assessed by a medical doctor, is a fundamental yardstick for euthanasia in Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), losing some physical faculties can sometimes be worse than losing life itself. Studies by the NCBI showcase that suffering does not inflict merely the biometrical realm, it also affects other aspects, such as daily functioning, self-esteem, and social life.

Petitions for euthanasia fall squarely into two main categories: Firstly, those patients who have no families or spouses to assist them usually demand their right for a dignified death, arguing that it is unthinkably brutal to be asked to keep suffering in silence. Secondly, some families raise petitions for euthanasia for the sake of easing their psychological agony since images associated with patients undergoing a long-lasting phase of death while being racked with pain is much more harrowing than witnessing a preordained death.

Actor Liam Neeson once opened up to Loaded Magazine about the heartbreaking experience of witnessing his wife going on a vegetative state, conveying how euthanasia helped him see such an unfortunate incident in a new light: I was told she was brain-dead. So, when I saw her and saw all these tubes and stuff, I said these tubes have to go. She is gone. But donated three of her organs, so she is keeping three people alive now.

Is euthanasia a form of violence?

Logically, one cannot equate euthanasia with murder since euthanasia is not a violent felony. Murder, by definition, is death by violence at a time chosen by the murderer rather than Gods will. Contrastively, patients suffering from deteriorating neurological conditions or brain death are already biologically dead, so it is not a murder to speed up their protracted death!

Unlike murder, euthanasia doesnt take patients by surprise; doctors always take written consent from their patients when the patients are still conscious and mentally apt. Moreover, if the physician or the patients family fail to meet all substantive obligations, they will be legally penalized. For instance, in 2019, a Dutch doctor was tried before court due to the lack of communication with the patient and the absence of a confirmation of the patients wish to die.

According to the universal declaration of human rights, there is a universal consensus that all patients have a fundamental right to confidentiality as well as a prerogative to accept or refuse treatment. Law does not consider it a murder when a patient suffering from a heart disease or cancer refuses treatment although the treatment will sustain his/her life, so why not recognize euthanasia as well since it leads to the same ending?

Deciding how much one should remain in existence is a private matter in the first place. Human rights and political correctness dictate that a state doesnt have the right to interfere unless in issues detrimental to society. Therefore, governments should treat people as free agents who possess the prerogative of a legal end-of-life option, for such a choice inflicts no harm on others.

Patients who want to pull the plug have already tried to pull through many times. Such patients are racked with pain both physical and emotional. They yearn for passing onto the subsequent stage of lifes journey quietly, in the manner of their choice. Therefore, physicians need to understand that their role is to lessen suffering and not to coerce people into remaining alive.

A personal perspective

My family and I are still haunted by the long excruciating death of my uncle who passed away of a severe state of kidney failure.

As an Egyptian, the only way for my uncle to speed up his death was either to quit eating and drinking or to cease going to hospital. However, doing nothing waiting for days or maybe months is unbearable. The option of committing suicide, which might even fail, is also a disgraceful act for the patient who would be condemned as having lost his or her faith. It would also affect the family, who might be accused of criminal neglect.

One day, my uncles wife was helping him get to the bathroom. However, due to his poor health condition, he collapsed on the floor and told her that he wished he could obtain a pill and end his life. Had death with dignity been allowed in Egypt, it would have saved my uncle four years of misery and saved his family abundant poignant memories and utter financial ruin.

Middle Eastern states need to realize that patients who ask for a physician-assisted suicide merely want to be treated respectfully, for they can commit suicide by themselves. Such patients do not want to be remembered as sheer pessimists or agnostics, who lost zest for life for no sound reason. They merely wish for a dignified death and forgiveness.

Popular Opinions on Suicide in General

Although euthanasia and suicide are not the same, it is noteworthy to tackle peoples viewpoint on suicide in general. Suicide is a major sin in both Islam and Christianity. In Islam, Quran forbids people from committing suicide; And do not kill yourselves (or one another). Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful (Al-Baqara, 2: 29). Moreover, according to Sahih of Bukhari, Thabit Ibn Al-Dahak narrated that Prophet Mohamed said that Whosoever kills himself with anything in this world will be tortured with it on the Day of Judgment.

In a similar fashion, Christianity considers life a personal divine gift, which had to be safeguarded. The Churchs rejection of suicide was based on the Biblical verse I shall require your blood (Genesis 9:5).The Egyptian Coptic church denies Christians who commit suicide of a church funeral.

Even from a humanitarian perspective, suicide is viewed as a selfish act that wrings the hearts of ones beloveds. As famed actor Benedict Cumberbatch puts it in his renowned Sherlock TV series, your own death is something that happens to everyone else. Your life is not your own, keep your hands off it.

Euthanasia in Middle Eastern Laws

Unfortunately, euthanasia is still considered a taboo in Arab countries and is hampered by numerous legal consequences. Article 157 of Kuwaiti Penal Code states that a person is guilty of murder even if the victim suffered from a disease or an injury that would lead to death and the perpetrator shortened his life. Article 538 of Syrian Penal Code punishes with detention from three to ten years, whoever conducts Euthanasia. As for Egyptian law, no text is propounded regarding euthanasia.

In Lebanon, there is no law permitting euthanasia, and therefore carrying it out is considered a crime punishable by the perpetrator, his partner, the inciter, and whoever intervenes. Article 552 of the Lebanese Penal Code stipulates that Whoever intentionally kills a person by means of compassion shall be punished with imprisonment for ten years, based on the urgency of the request.

However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel; Article 18 of Kuwaiti Penal Code allows the court to refrain from issuing a verdict against euthanasia perpetuators in consideration of their morals and the circumstances in which they committed the crime. Article 96 of UAE Penal Code states that the motive of mercy for murder is a legal excuse that reduces the penalty.

Laconically, euthanasia might be a controversial topic that not all people agree on, yet revising our paradigm and the notions we espouse is something we all need to do.

*The opinions and ideas expressed in this article do not reflect the views of Egyptian Streets editorial team any other institution with which they are affiliated. To submit an opinion article, please email[emailprotected].

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Why Should Euthanasia be Legally Permitted in the Middle East? - Egyptian Streets

Nation’s attitude to life and death – Southern Star Newspaper

When introducing proposed legislation, the term euthanasia was not used, but rather the hotch-potch expression dignity in dying

LAST week, the trendy buckos in Dil ireann, introduced a proposal for a free vote on a matter that could change profoundly the nations attitude to life and death. Euthanasia! It is a topic that has the potential to convulse Irish society in a fashion not seen since the abortion issue.

Currently the government has in the pipeline the hugely controversial Dignity in Dying Bill, whose purpose is (in effect) the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Up to this, nobody advocated putting euthanasia onto our statute books and then, suddenly from nowhere, it became a hot topic with the weird Green Party, Vlads Fine Gael and Mickeys Fianna Fil.

According to the HSE, euthanasia can be defined as the act of deliberately ending a life to relieve suffering and that a doctor who deliberately encourages a very sick patient to take a fatal overdose of medicine could be accused (in theory) of euthanasia.

In other words, euthanasia is the act of assisting or encouraging very ill people to kill themselves.

And heres the rub: our legislators already are toying with quasi-euthanasia legislation in their promotion of the so-called Dignity in Dying Bill, which has been described as making provision for assistance in achieving a dignified and peaceful end to life.

The choice of words is interesting. When introducing the proposed legislation, Vlad, Mickey and the Trendies did not use the term euthanasia but rather the hotch-potch expression dignity in dying which suggested style, seriousness and something worthy of consideration.

Contrary to ethics

In much of the civilised world, euthanasia is considered morally and legally unjustifiable, inherently wrong and contrary to the 2,500-year-old medical ethic of caring for patients. But, incredibly, in Paddys neck of the woods, that no longer seems to be the case.

A People before Profit enthusiast put forward the Bill advocating euthanasia and it was supported by Green Party windbags and elements within Fianna Fil and Fine Gael.

All were confident that a free vote on euthanasia would be allowed and that inter-party flexibility would prevail on the issue.

According to Greenie Eamon Ryan, a free vote is the best solution as this avoids dividing the House on party political grounds should matters of complex conscience (his terminology) arise in Dil ireann.

Vlad prudently agreed with the kicking to touch approach, declaring that he wanted an all-party Oireachtas Committee to look into the matter of suicide! So far, the Dil is metaphorically out as to defining what exactly constitutes assisted suicide.

Of course, the topic is not exactly a barrel of laughs, or votes! And, despite the best efforts of Fine Gael and the weirdo Greenies to invest the act of suicide / murder with parliamentary-style propriety and good taste, the fact of the matter is that euthanasia is nothing more than messily killing yourself as a way to avoid pain or suffering.

Legal or illegal?

Euthanasia may sound like a student exchange programme but, according to Google (which has the best definition), it is nothing more than the painless killing of a person suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.

Sensitive to the legal and other implications inherent in advocating suicide for terminally-ill people, it is not surprising that Vlad and his Justice Minister, Helen McEntee, want to kick the debate as far away from themselves as possible. Hence, the proposal to hand the topic over to the totally useless, so-called Citizens Assembly.

In the meantime, the position regarding euthanasia in this country is that it is either manslaughter or murder and, consequently, illegal under Irish law. Whats more, to encourage deliberately, or to assist another person to kill themselves (assisted suicide) can be punishable by life imprisonment.

And, interestingly, although assisted suicide is illegal, attempting to commit suicide unaided and without outside help is not an illegal act.

Euthanasia is legal only in Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg, although according to the HSE some types of assisted suicide and passive euthanasia are legal in Switzerland, Germany, Mexico and the American state of Oregon. Assisted suicide is not legal in Britain and those promoting it runs the risk of a 14-year prison sentence.

Assisted suicide is where encouragement and assistance is given to another person who commits, or attempts to commit suicide, such as in the case of purchasing powerful sedatives, knowing that the person with the terminal illness intends to take an overdose with the intention to kill themselves. Involvement in carrying out euthanasia can lead to a murder charge.

Assisted death

In the three European Union countries where euthanasia is legal, a person must make a voluntary request to end their life, have the mental capacity to make such a decision and must be suffering unbearably with no prospect of an improvement in their condition.

In the Netherlands in 2017, there were 6,585 cases of voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide, mostly involving people with cancer.

In Britain some doctors argue that, in cases of terminal illness, individuals should be allowed the freedom to determine their own time in which to die, and that police should not prosecute those involved in an assisted death.

Crucially, there is no guarantee that helpers who take a family member to Switzerland for an assisted death will not be investigated by the police.

People with dementia

Almost in a throwback to Dr Mengele, there is concern among psychiatrists and doctors about the use of euthanasia for people with dementia. Two years ago, police investigations were opened into the euthanasia of psychiatric patients in the Netherlands after reports that pressure was put on people with disabilities to end their lives.

And then theres the possibility that those who promote euthanasia may not be familiar with the benefits of palliative care and how it can improve the quality of life when a patient is faced with a life threatening illness. Assisted dying isnt necessary when good clinical care can help eliminate pain.

Indeed, when politicos focus on euthanasia as a means of reducing suffering, they may well be sending the message that some lives are not worth living and that the sick and the elderly are little more than a financial burden on society.

In such circumstances, it isnt long before the right to die becomes a duty to die!

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Nation's attitude to life and death - Southern Star Newspaper

Catholic teaching on euthanasia and end-of-life care – Catholic Outlook

The Catholic Church espouses a consistentethic of lifethat requires the legal protection of all human life from conception to natural death. Thus Pope Francis wrote, in his 2018 Apostolic ExhortationGaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad),

The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend. Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.

(GE 101, emphasis added)

The Holy Father rejects the lopsided view found among some Catholics that in the political arena abortion is the only thing that counts. The lives of the unborn are sacred and should be protected by law, but this isequally trueof the poor and underprivileged, the elderly, and victims of human trafficking; in a word, anyone who is marginalized.In my previous postI discussed how this applies even to people guilty of grave crimes, who should never under any circumstances be put to execution. Today I would like to discuss euthanasia and assisted suicide.

On September 22 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the specific approval of Pope Francis (meaning this is part of his ordinary Magisterium), published a letter spelling out the Churchs teachings and pastoral practices concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide. It is calledSamaritanus Bonus(SB)named for the Good Samaritan.

For its doctrinal basis, it draws heavily upon the 1980 CDF Declaration on Euthanasia, calledIura et Bona, as well as some allocutions given by Pius XII in the 1950s. Doctrinally, there is very little that is new in this document; the basic doctrine remains the same as it was 40 years ago. Over the years, some very specific elements regarding particular, difficult points have been elaborated, and this document tries to put everything into an overall, coherent framework. As such, it will be the touchstone for future Catholic discussion of this topic for decades to come.

Continue reading this article on Where Peter Is.

With thanks to Where Peter Is and Adam Rasmussen.


Catholic teaching on euthanasia and end-of-life care - Catholic Outlook

Bishops write letter to Queenslanders stressing the sanctity of human life – Catholic Leader

Dignity: Nobody is morally compelled to suffer unbearable pain, nobody should feel like a burden, and nobody should feel that their life is worthless.

SIX of Queenslands Catholic bishops have written a pastoral letter warning of the consequences of legalising euthanasia.

The letter, to all Catholic Queenslanders and the wider community, stresses the sanctity of life and recognising that all of creation is sacred.

Societies in which life is cheap suffer from many maladies and injustices, the bishops said.

With Queensland gearing up for a state election on October 31, euthanasia in the form of voluntary assisted dying (VAD), is squarely on the political agenda and the bishops have announced this coming Sunday, October 11 as Dying Peacefully No Euthanasia Sunday.

VAD legislation may come before the next parliament whatever the outcome of the forthcoming election, the bishops statement said.

The Catholic Church is opposed to voluntary assisted dying. However, the Church strongly supports high-quality palliative care, respect for patient autonomy, preservation of personal dignity and a peaceful end to life.

Nobody is morally compelled to suffer unbearable pain, nobody should feel like a burden, and nobody should feel that their life is worthless.

VAD is already legal in Victoria and Western Australia and there is a powerful push to change the law in Queensland.

The state government has ordered the independent Queensland Law Reform Commission to prepare draft VAD legislation that is expected to be ready for the next parliament early next year.

People are afraid of losing their freedom, their dignity, their worth, as they face what they believe will be a terrible process of dying, Queenslands bishops said.

The Catholic Church maintains based on its theological and philosophical beliefs on the nature of human beings, and on the empirical evidence of high-quality specialist palliative care that none of these things need come true.

Freedom, dignity, worth, and minimal suffering can all be achieved.

Dying need not be horrifying.

This is not to glorify or minimise how challenging the process of dying is.

But it is a process that we as a society and as individuals must face in a way that respects and preserves those principles of freedom, dignity and the minimisation of harm that we all hold dear.

RELATED STORY: Queensland bishops urge action on COVID-led social and economic issues as state election looms

Bishops: The Catholic Church is opposed to voluntary assisted dying. However, the Church strongly supports high-quality palliative care, respect for patient autonomy, preservation of personal dignity and a peaceful end to life.

The bishops statement said many people struggled to see the societal implications of legalising intentional killing of another person, even in strictly limited circumstances.

Where the meaningfulness and purposefulness of life are held sacred from cradle to the grave, for the just and the wicked, for rich and for poor, in short, for all, a society can genuinely care for the common good, the bishops said.

Because in such a society there is always the opportunity for a change of heart, for a conversion of the mind, for love and mercy to shine through.

Pope Francis has encouraged Catholic people everywhere to resist euthanasia and to ensure that the elderly, the young and the vulnerable are not cast aside in what he has called a throw-away culture.

Instead, the Pope calls us as Catholics to follow Jesus Christ by accompanying people at the end of their life with all the skill of palliative medicine and all the compassion of the human heart, since true palliative care embraces the whole person, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

As part of a care-first approach, the bishops flag a future training program within Catholic communities to help people better understand what choices are available and what pathways already exist to ensure a dignified and peaceful death.

The aim would be to train facilitators who can guide people to expert advice.

This is the type of care that Pope Francis envisions the Church being able to offer as an accompaniment to those coming to the end of their life, the bishops said.

Read more about Dying Peacefully No Euthanasia Sunday at: archbne.org/dtrl.

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Bishops write letter to Queenslanders stressing the sanctity of human life - Catholic Leader

System of abortion and euthanasia by post looming MercatorNet – MercatorNet

Abortion pills may continue to be sent by post in both England and Scotland after the Covid-19 threat passes if controversial proposals from Scottish National Party ministers are adopted.

The proposals would keep the temporary arrangement in Scotland after the virus is no longer deemed a major risk to public health, meaning women would no longer have to attend a hospital clinic to procure abortion pills.

The Scottish ministers have opened a public consultation, while the UK Government has promised to publish a similar consultation for Englandfor early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation.

This proposal is being put forward despite the fact that the abortion clinics have not closed down during the pandemic, even while so many treatments, including cancer treatments, have been put on hold that the NHS is fastbecoming a Covid-only health service.

While the abortion service has been prioritized because it affects women, breast-cancer treatments have been sidelined. Statistics for England reveal that the number of women being assessed by a cancer doctor after referralsfell by 60 per cent in April, compared to the same month last year.

By contrast, the number of abortions in April rose by a quarter on the previous year. Following the Scottish Governments announcement about retaining the abortion-pills-by-post policy, pro-life campaigners warned that there had been cases in England of babies dying in recent months after their mothers took the pills when months past the legal and medical limit, and abortion providers have been found to be sending out the pills without even basic checks.

Documents from the Scottish Government admitted that there were concerns that some women may underestimate the gestation of their pregnancy, raising the risk that women may mistakenly take the pills after the 24-week legal abortion limit. Further, the report warned that abolishing the need for a face-to-face appointment would make it more difficult to detect if women werevictims of domestic abuse or human trafficking.

It should be obvious that anywhere abortions exacerbate such problems or can we look forward, given the constraints placed on health provision in the context of Covid, to receiving the relevant surgical instruments through the post so we can perform our own operations in the comfort of our own homes?

As it is, abortion providers can conveniently escape any responsibility for any inconvenient outcomes by citing womens choice, even though, in addition to admitting that the pills have been taken well over the legal limits, NHS staff revealed thattwo women died taking this oh-so-safe medication.

Despite such dangers, clearly the public is being softened up for the next step in the process of treating abortion as just another personal choice just as, last month, Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on choice at the end of life, claimed that MPs were coming around to supporting some restricted form of assisted dying.

Mitchells vague mention of some restricted form of assisted dying means, one supposes, the strict safeguards that accompany such laws, are designed to ease their passage into law and to be swiftly discarded afterwards just as abortion was legalized in 1967, supposedly for a few hard cases.

Since then we have racked up a total of 9.5 million abortions, but now that abortion has been made so much easier, the numbers are on anever-increasing trajectory to the stratosphere.

If Mr Mitchell gets his way, doubtless we will not have to wait 50 years before what has been dubbed the National Death Service sends euthanasia pills through the post after a cursory phone call. Perhaps we will be so relaxed about it that the pills will be available over the counter in the local supermarket.

It comes as no surprise that in both Scotland and England the governments are now proposing to make their supposedly temporaryanywhere abortions permanent, since, as well as being just one item on the abortion advocates shopping list, they may curb future demand for health care.

Both governments insist on calling abortion a health problem, although it is exempt from the normal regulations and safeguards which apply to actual illness; but if they see the problems of life as being caused by life itself, then logically death is the most effective cure and also the cheapest.

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System of abortion and euthanasia by post looming MercatorNet - MercatorNet

Catholic bishops in Queensland aim to educate on sanctity of life – Catholic News Agency

CNA Staff, Oct 6, 2020 / 02:01 pm MT (CNA).- The bishops of the five dioceses in Australia's Queensland state have written a pastoral letter urging that euthanasia and assisted suicide not be legalized, and recalling that a peaceful death can be had with palliative care.

The Catholic Church is opposed to voluntary assisted dying. However, the Church strongly supports high-quality palliative care, respect for patient autonomy, preservation of personal dignity and a peaceful end to life. Nobody is morally compelled to suffer unbearable pain, nobody should feel like a burden, and nobody should feel that their life is worthless, the bishops wrote in Dying Peacefully No Euthanasia Sunday.

The Queensland government, currently led by the Australian Labor Party, has commissioned the independent Queensland Law Reform Commission to provide draft legislation to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia by March 1, 2021.

Assisted suicide and euthanasia have been legal in Victoria since June 2019, and in December 2019 Western Australia passed a law allowing the practices, which will take effect in mid-2021.

Queensland is holding a state election Oct. 31, with all of the seats in the unicameral Legislative Assembly up for election.

Ahead of that vote, the state's bishops are observing Oct. 11 as Dying Peacefully No Euthanasia Sunday.

The bishops wrote that it is clear that people people are afraid of losing their freedom, their dignity, their worth, as they face what they believe will be a terrible process of dying.

They said the Church maintains that none of these things need come true. Freedom, dignity, worth, and minimal suffering can all be achieved. Dying need not be horrifying.

While dying is a challenging process, it is one that we as a society and as individuals must face in a way that respects and preserves those principles of freedom, dignity and the minimization of harm that we all hold dear, they wrote.

Research has demonstrated that many people do not understand the Churchs position on end-of-life care, they said in their letter, written to the people, clergy, and religious Catholic Catholic communities of the state.

Misunderstandings may lead people to support voluntary assisted dying (VAD) legislation on mistaken assumptions about what dying entails and how the Catholic Church teaches one should respond to it, they continued. There is confusion about the right to refuse or end treatment, about the moral legitimacy of advance care planning, about the use of pain-relieving medications, and about when hastening death may be morally acceptable.

They added that many struggle to see the potential implications for society as a whole of legalising intentional killing of another person, even in strictly limited circumstances.

The sanctity of life is not about doing everything possible to stay alive for as long as possible regardless of whether there is any real benefit or regardless of how severe the burden may be for the individual, their family, or society. Rather, the sanctity of life is about recognising that all life, all of creation is sacred because it is the foundation, the necessary condition of all meaningful and purposeful endeavour.

Societies in which life is cheap suffer from many maladies and injustices, they advised. But where the meaningfulness and purposefulness of life are held sacred from cradle to the grave, for the just and the wicked, for rich and for poor, in short, for all, a society can genuinely care for the common good. Because in such a society there is always the opportunity for a change of heart, for a conversion of the mind, for love and mercy to shine through.

The Church, the bishops said, recognises the need to help people better understand what choices they already have and what pathways already exist to ensure a dignified and peaceful death, regardless of whether assisted suicide and euthanasia are legalized.

People need assistance not to end their lives but at the end of their lives in ways that they feel fully recognise their autonomy and dignity. Finding ways to improve understanding, access, and assistance may also have the effect of delaying or preventing the legalisation of voluntary assisted dying.

Even if voluntary assisted dying (VAD) should be legalised, then this important service offered by the Church may help to ensure that voluntary assisted dying (VAD) is seldom utilised. Moreover this service to the People of God, and to all of society, becomes a prophetic voice affirming the dignity and worth of all life against a belief that a life can be meaningless and purposeless on the one hand or that ones own freedom is all that matters, they added.

The bishops said, We are challenged now to approach death and the dying differently, accompanying every person on the way to death and allowing them to love and to be loved to the very end and into eternity.

They noted that Pope Francis has encouraged Catholics to resist euthanasia and to ensure that the elderly, the young and the vulnerable are not cast aside in what he has called a 'throw-away culture'. Instead, the Pope calls us as Catholics to follow Jesus Christ by accompanying people at the end of their life with all the skill of palliative medicine and all the compassion of the human heart, since true palliative care embraces the whole person, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

That care-first approach should be made available on a statewide basis an alternative path to that of assisted dying legislation, the bishops stated.

They announced they may develop a training program to help people better understand what choices they already have and what pathways already exist to ensure a dignified and peaceful death.

This would help guide people to experts who can provide opportunities for those experts to interact with people in their particular contexts from time to time in a formative way. This is the type of care that Pope Francis envisions the Church being able to offer as an accompaniment to those coming to the end of their life. It should be well within our capacity to offer.

In Victoria, the Assisted Dying Review Board recently reported 124 deaths by assisted suicide and euthanasia in the first year that they became legal.

That number blows apart Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews much-publicised prediction of a dozen deaths in the first 12 months, Marilyn Rodrigues wrote in The Catholic Weekly, an Australian publication.

Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, of the Australian Labor Party, expected the number of persons seeking assisted suicide or euthanasia to be low initially, and increase in later years.

We anticipate that once the scheme has been in place for some time, well see between 100 and 150 patients access this scheme every year, Mikakos told the ABC shortly before the law took effect.

In the first year, we do expect the number to be quite modest maybe only as low as a dozen people, she added.

Tasmania is also considering a bill to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia.

New South Wales rejected such a bill in 2017, as did the national parliament in 2016, and that of Tasmania in 2013.

The Northern Territory legalized assisted suicide in 1995, but the Australian parliament overturned the law two years later.

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Catholic bishops in Queensland aim to educate on sanctity of life - Catholic News Agency

Palmerston North youth chew on pizza and politics with election candidates – Stuff.co.nz

David Unwin/Stuff

Greens candidate Ali Hale Tilley and NZ Firsts Antony Woollams, bottom right, discuss the End of Life Choice Act at a pizza and politics debate in Palmerston North.

Palmerston North youth have debated and discussed with election candidates key issues from euthanasia to the voting age at an energetic pizza and politics debate.

The Palmerston North Youth Council hosted city electorate hopefuls Nationals William Wood, Advance NZs Sharon Lyon, along with Rangitkei candidates, NZ Firsts Antony Woollams and the Greens Ali Hale Tilley, for a traffic light debate on Thursday.

The young audience and the candidates grouped around a green table if they agreed with a statement on a key election issue, a yellow table if they were undecided and a red table if they were against it.

Each group then had an internal discussion about why they held their views, then put forward a candidate and an audience representative to debate the other tables.

READ MORE:* Election 2020: Palmerston North candidates show passion, but will that get them to Parliament? * Election 2020: Palmerston North candidates tackle city's housing problem* Election 2020: Fixing systemic racism a goal for Palmerston North candidates* Election 2020: How will Taranaki candidates vote in the cannabis, end of life referendums?

The first issue, the End of Life Choice Act referendum, was the most evenly split of the afternoon.

Although the majority of the young people stood with Tilley and Woollams in favour of the act, there was a strong undecided contingent. Six youths stood against it, along with Wood and Lyon.

Tilley said it was a matter of allowing people with terminal illnesses to die with dignity, when they chose to.

The green tables youth representative said most of them decided based on what they would want for themselves in that situation, and a few such as him had watched loved ones suffer a terminal illness.

Ive had family members diagnosed with cancer who became husks of themselves, who told us they would rather have had a choice like this would allow.

David Unwin/Stuff

Candidates at the pizza and politics debate were, from left, Antony Woollams, NZ First; Sharon Lyon, Advance NZ; William Wood, National; and Ali Hale Tilley, Greens.

Wood said allowing euthanasia would open Pandoras Box, and it was ripe for abuse and mistakes that could influence vulnerable peoples decisions.

Under the End of Life Choice Act, two doctors would have to agree a patient would be dead within six months before they could choose euthanasia.

Wood had talked with doctors who told him they were wrong about a quarter of the time when a patient was expected to have less than three months to live. That rose to 50 or 60 per cent when it was six months.

An undecided youth said she worried disproportionate numbers of minority, poor or disabled people would be euthanised.

It wouldnt be fair, for people to feel pressured to choose euthanasia because their family couldnt afford palliative care, she said.

The audience was decisively pro-choice when it came to abortion and in favour of lowering the voting age to 16.

Woollams backed up a young woman who said 16 was the age of consent, when people could first apply for a driver licence and must be paid a minimum wage at work, which theyre taxed on.

Theres an old slogan, no taxation without representation. If youre old enough to work and be taxed, youre old enough to vote, he said.

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Palmerston North youth chew on pizza and politics with election candidates - Stuff.co.nz

Bishop says push for assisted suicide in Ireland disingenuous and unnecessary – Crux Now

LEICESTER, United Kingdom Proposed legislation to introduce medically-assisted dying to the Republic of Ireland is disingenuous and unnecessary, according to Bishop William Crean of Cloyne.

Speaking during the Day for Life Mass on Oct. 4, Crean said, how we treat the weak and powerless is the true test of our character and integrity as a nation.

The Irish parliament was scheduled to vote on whether the Dying with Dignity Bill will proceed to committee stage on Wednesday. The bill was introduced into the legislative body last month.

Critics of the bill note that it defines a terminal illness as one where the person is likely to die as a result of that illness or complications relating thereto, and does not set a time limit for expected death usually 6 months in other countries before physician-assisted suicide could be requested.

In addition, the bill would require any doctor not willing to assist with a suicide to refer the patient to another doctor. This is especially worrying for the hospice movement, which cares for dying patients near the end of their lives and is philosophically opposed to euthanasia.

Other objections to the proposed legislation include the short 14-day waiting period between a request for lethal medication and its delivery, the lack of a requirement for a second opinion, and the lack of safeguards to protect vulnerable patients.

During his homily, Crean said noted that those proposing the law claim it would be limited and rare in occurrence, but pointed to the results of legalized abortion in the country.

We know only too well these days how fragile life is. It is not too long ago since the right to life of the unborn was compromised. The argumentation was that abortion would be limited and rare. That the first year of the legislation registered 6666 [abortions]. That is not what was promised. Would you believe again in the promises of those politicians? I do not, the bishop said.

He noted that in lifes journey there are many who fall victim to a terminal illness, adding this generates great sadness, anxiety, anger and pain.

He also questioned the appropriateness of introducing the legislation during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

If the frail and elderly were fearful and anxious due to the virus, they have an added legitimate concern as to how much value is really placed on their life and their lifetimes contribution to society, Crean said.

On Monday, the Irish Palliative Medicine Consultants Association (IPMCA) published an open letter in the Irish Times, registering their opposition to the Bill.

The threats of the proposed Bill to healthcare in Ireland, to the true meaning of the doctor-patient relationship and to the future of what we know compassionate and supportive specialist palliative care to be are many, the letter says.

We worry about the impact on people who already struggle to have their voices heard in our society older adults, the disabled, those with mental illness and others. We worry that the most vulnerable are those who may be made to feel a burden to their families and come under pressure to end their lives prematurely, it continues.

Most people do not see that within the easing of physical, psychological or spiritual distress and addressing peoples fears, hopes, sadness and loss, the goal of palliative care remains to enhance the living of each life which often transforms the experiences of living, dying and bereavement for individual patients and their families. We are convinced that as dying with dignity is already present within healthcare in Ireland, no change to our current laws is required.

Follow Charles Collins on Twitter:@CharlesinRome

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Bishop says push for assisted suicide in Ireland disingenuous and unnecessary - Crux Now

Vatican tells UN it is deeply concerned by push to reinterpret’ foundations of human rights – Catholic News Agency

CNA Staff, Oct 7, 2020 / 06:00 am MT (CNA).- A Vatican representative told the United Nations Tuesday that the Holy See was deeply concerned by moves to reinterpret the very foundations of human rights.

In a statement Oct. 6, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said that the reinterpretation of human rights benefited the powerful at the expense of the weak.

The Holy See is deeply concerned over growing pressure to reinterpret the very foundations of human rights and to compromise their inner unity so as to move away from the protection of human dignity and to satisfy political and economic interests, Caccia said during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

This approach creates a hierarchy of human rights by relativizing human dignity and assigning more value and additional rights to the strong and healthy, while discarding the weak.

The archbishop specifically criticized the promotion of abortion and euthanasia as supposed rights.

He said: This failure to understand the nature and reality of human rights leads to grave inequalities and injustices, such as ignoring children in the womb and treating the lives of the elderly and persons with disabilities as insupportable burdens on society.

Quoting from Samaritanus bonus, a letter released last month by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he added: Just as there is no right to abortion, there is also no right to euthanasia: laws exist, not to cause death, but to protect life and to facilitate co-existence among human beings.

Caccia added that the sacredness of human life also impelled the Vatican to oppose the death penalty.

His comments were the latest in a series of forthright interventions from the Vatican regarding the UN, which the Holy See has steadfastly supported as a way of promoting international cooperation.

Pope Francis called for reform of the intergovernmental body in his new encyclical, Fratelli tutti, released Oct. 4. Late last month he lamented the promotion of abortion by some countries and international institutions in a video message to the UN General Assembly.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin offered a critical assessment of the UNs 75-year history in his speech to the General Assembly.

The United Nations is not perfect and it has not always lived up to its name and ideals, and it has harmed itself whenever particular interests have triumphed over the common good, he said.

Caccias statement addressed not only human rights, but also inequalities highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic, violence against women, childrens rights, the welfare of indigenous peoples, racism, and criminal justice.

He said that the virus, which has killed more than a million people worldwide, had dramatically impacted the elderly and the disabled. The resulting waves of unemployment and underemployment had left the young fearing for the future, he observed.

He called for greater efforts to combat violence against women and girls, which had increased since the COVID-19 outbreak.

He added that the crisis was having devastating effects on children, millions of whom were unable to return to school and were at risk of exploitation.

He said that the pandemic had worsened conditions for indigenous peoples, who struggled to obtain medicines, food and water amid nationwide restrictions.

He also deplored a worrying resurgence of aggressive nationalism, ethnic violence and the widespread phenomena of racial discrimination.

Finally, Caccia said that the pandemic presented new challenges to fighting human trafficking, the drugs trade, and corruption.

As we face an unprecedented health crisis, there is reason to be concerned that the vast amount of funds released for COVID-19 pandemic recovery has already attracted criminal activities, he said.

In conclusion, the archbishop argued that human rights will never be fully recognized and universally acknowledged unless all states, especially those in conflict, engage in good faith and integrity with this international organization, working together to reach this goal.

International consensus requires setting aside ideological conflicts and also conceptions of the human person in which the dignity, rights and freedoms of the other are not respected, he said.

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Vatican tells UN it is deeply concerned by push to reinterpret' foundations of human rights - Catholic News Agency

Should Kiwis have the choice to end their life? The NZME End of Life debate – Newstalk ZB

Pro and anti-euthanasia campaigners have clashed over whether a teenager in New Zealand should be able to choose to end their life without telling their parents.

A debate on the End of Life Choice referendum tonight looked at how New Zealand's proposed law change compared to overseas countries, how it could work in practice, and whether it could be improved.

It was hosted by Newstalk ZB's Heather du Plessis-Allan and featured Wellington GP Mary English and Hospice NZ clinical director Rod Macleod in the anti-euthanasia camp and terminal cancer patient Stuart Armstrong and Dr John Bonning, an emergency medicine specialist from Waikato Hospital, in the pro-euthanasia camp.

The most heated discussion centred on whether the End of Life Choice Act had adequate safeguards. The bill would allow a terminally ill patient aged 18 years and older to request assisted dying.

English described it as "very weak", noting the absence of a requirement for a patient to consult their family or friends about their decision to request an assisted death.

"That could be the mother or father of an 18 year-old who is terminally ill," she said.

"And the first those parents might get to know about this is if they get a phone call or a death certificate coming to them. And that's something that no parent wants."

Bonning said any patient, regardless of age, would also need to have a terminal illness and "intolerable suffering" to be eligible for an assisted death.

"They're allowed to vote, they're allowed to go to war, they're allowed to make their own choices."

Foreign jurisdictions with similar euthanasia laws had shown that young people were highly unlikely to apply for assisted dying, he said. Since Victoria, Australia, had legalised assisted dying last year, the age range of people who had died was between 32 and 100.

Macleod, who had worked in palliative care for more than 30 years, said requiring a doctor to consult with a patient's family would help them detect whether the person was being coerced into dying.

Under the proposed law, a doctor must halt a patient's application if they detect any signs of coercion.

Asked how the End of Life Choice Act could be improved, English and Macleod said it should include a minimum period between a patient's request for assisted dying and taking the lethal dose.

"There is no cooling off period," Macleod said. "There are no witnesses to this act."

Macleod highlighted officials' advice that a person could be dead four days after they first requested euthanasia.

However, the ministry has also said this assumed all parties were available, there were no objections, and no concerns about competency. As a result, the process was more likely to take months.

The panel disagreed strongly on whether New Zealand's bill was more restrictive than other countries' laws.

English said Victoria's law had a cooling off period, a requirement for two sworn witness statements, and specialists were involved in patient's applications rather than GPs. A psychiatrist was only required in New Zealand if there were any doubts about a patient's competency.

Bonning said there were 45 safeguards in New Zealand's law, and it was considered one of the most restrictive in the world. It was based on well-established, proven models of euthanasia laws overseas.

"There are 150 million people in countries around the world that have used it successfully. There is no slippery slope, there is no coercion or very, very little of it, and no countries have rescinded this legislation."

Armstrong, who has had prostate cancer for six years, said he wanted a death which reflected the way he lived his life.

"That's full of energy and enthusiasm and love for life. I'll be blowed if I'm stuck in some hospital bed while that happens."

In the most heated part of the debate, he told English: "I don't to face a gnarly end, and have to face it because people like you want to stick your noses in my own choices, thank you."

Five things to know about the euthanasia referendum

New Zealand will vote next month on whether it wants voluntary euthanasia to be legalised.

Before you cast your vote, here are five things you should know.

The referendum is binding, and a majority "yes" vote will mean voluntary euthanasia will be made legal exactly a year after election day (October 17). A "no" vote will mean we keep the status quo.

Parliament has twice voted against laws to legalise euthanasia in New Zealand. Former National MP Michael Laws' Death with Dignity Bill was heavily defeated in 1995. And NZ First MP Peter Brown's bill by the same name was narrowly defeated - by just two votes - in 2003.

On the latest attempt, Act Party MP David Seymour's End of Life Choice Act has already been passed by Parliament - but relies on a public vote to get it over the line.

It would be limited to NZ citizens or permanent residents who are 18 years or older and suffer from a terminal illness which is likely to end their lives within six months.

They also need to be:

in an advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability

They also cannot be eligible on the basis of age, mental illness, or disability alone.

Some countries have broadened their euthanasia laws. This is being considered in Canada, which New Zealand's law was partly based on. A law change there could soon make euthanasia available to non-terminal patients.

Supporters of the End of Life Choice Act say that doesn't foreshadow what could happen here. Those changes were a response to a ruling by Canada's Supreme Court, and were based on a constitution which does not exist in New Zealand. Any further changes to New Zealand's law would need to get through Parliament.

Analysis of deaths in the United States, Canada and Europe found those most likely to access assisted dying were old, white, well-educated and relatively wealthy.

This is mainly because this group is more likely to be able to have better access to the healthcare system, and better able to navigate the medical and bureaucratic hurdles to assisted dying.

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Should Kiwis have the choice to end their life? The NZME End of Life debate - Newstalk ZB

The Salvation Army Does Not Support The End Of Life Choice Act – Scoop.co.nz

The Salvation Army recognises that there are diverseopinions in New Zealand about euthanasia and assisted dying.As a Christian movement, the Army holds a view on the valueof life that leads to a conclusion that the natural processof dying requires significant care, and should lead us tofind better ways to deal with suffering rather than endingthe lives of those who suffer.

As a movement committedto working with and for the vulnerable and marginalised, TheSalvation Army believes that the End of Life Choice Act is adeeply flawed piece of legislation that does not incorporatesufficient safeguards and is likely to increasevulnerability for many New Zealanders. This includes theelderly and those struggling with mental illness.

Theproposed Act requires no independent witnesses, as injurisdictions currently allowing euthanasia; no prescribedcooling off period, meaning that death can happenwithin four days of a request being made; physical pain isnot a requirement; assisted death is not limited to an actof last resort; and there are inadequate checks for whethera person is being pressured, which overseas experiencesuggests can be a significant factor. Taken together, thesefactors inevitably increase vulnerability for New Zealandersfacing such a significant moment in their life.

TheSalvation Army notes that New Zealand has a world-renownedpalliative care system that already provides high-qualityend-of-life care. The focus should be on improving access tothis care, not legislating a quicker death. Further, theArmy contends that there is a significant difference betweenwithholding treatment that prolongs life which isalready allowable under New Zealand law and takingaction to intentionally cause death.

The SalvationArmy does not support the End of Life Choice Act, and inlight of the shortcomings of the Act itself, encourages NewZealanders to vote no, even if they support euthanasiainprinciple.

Scoop Media

Caring for people, transforming lives and reforming society.

The Salvation Army is an international movement and an evangelical branch of the Christian Church that expresses its ministry through a range of spiritual and social programmes. Our operational headquarters for New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga is in Wellington, New Zealand.

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The Salvation Army Does Not Support The End Of Life Choice Act - Scoop.co.nz

Euthanasia referendum: 124 Australians access assisted dying in first year – Stuff.co.nz

There were 124 confirmed deaths in the first year assisted dying was permitted in the Australian state of Victoria, new figures show.

Victorias Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 came into force last June, allowing terminally ill adults with less than six months to live the option to request medication to end their life.

On October 17, New Zealanders will get to vote on a piece of legislation which would allow this for Kiwis over the age of 18 in a binding referendum.


On October 17, New Zealanders will vote in a binding referendum on whether to pass the End of Life Choice Act into law.

Ahead of the referendum, Stuff analyses what New Zealands closest neighbour has seen in its assisted dying scheme which is largely similar to what has been proposed here in its first year.

READ MORE:* Euthanasia referendum: How assisted dying laws work around the world* Five applications to die lodged each week under Australian state's new euthanasia laws* Assisted dying: How Victoria's euthanasia laws will work in Australia* Euthanasia referendum: What drugs are used in assisted dying, and how do they work?

This week, the independent Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board released its third report on activity under the Act, and the first comprehensive look at the year in review.

It showed access to voluntary assisted dying is growing, with eligible applications increasing by 50 per cent from June-December 2019 to January-June 2020.

Between June 2019 and June 30, 2020, 348 people were assessed for eligibility to access voluntary assisted dying in Victoria, which has a population of 6.3 million.

At the first assessment, 341 were found eligible, while seven were deemed ineligible to access the scheme.

At the consulting assessment, where a medical practitioner receives and accepts a referral from the coordinating medical practitioner, 297 people were deemed eligible and four were ineligible.

Iain McGregor/Stuff

New Zealand's End of Life Choice Act would allow terminally ill adults with fewer than six months to live to end their lives by taking lethal medication.

In the first year, 154 cases had lethal medication dispensed for self-administration this sharply increased over the year, from 57 dispensings in the first six months to 97 between January and June.

Of the confirmed deaths where medication was administered, 104 took the lethal dose typically a drink themselves and 20 had it administered by a practitioner.

The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria shows there were 42,115 deaths from July, 2019 to June, 2020 the month of June 2019 was no longer available meaning those who accessed assisted dying made up fewer than 0.3 per cent of all deaths.

The average age of the 124 Australians who died from taking the prescribed medications was 71, however applicants ranged from 32 to 100 years old.

Almost four out of five had terminal cancer, including lung (17 per cent), breast (15 per cent) and gastrointestinal tract cancer (10 per cent) making up the majority of cases.

Others had motor neurone disease (15 per cent), while seven per cent had diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, cardiomyopathy or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The majority of applicants were men (55 per cent), while 44 per cent were women. One per cent selected self-described as their sex.

The majority of applicants spoke English at home, and nine required an interpreter to attend appointments.

Close to two thirds (62 per cent) lived in a metropolitan area, while 38 per cent lived in regional or rural Victoria.


Victoria was the first Australian state to pass a law allowing assisted dying.

Once an assisted dying application is complete, either because the applicant has died or chosen to withdraw, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board reviews all information submitted to determine if the case complied with the Act.

The board found compliance with the Act was at 99 per cent.

One application was deemed non-compliant due to an issue with the paperwork, not related to the eligibility of the applicant, they found.

The board received feedback from applicants, contact people and medical practitioners about a number of issues.

These included expanding voluntary assisted dying services to be accessible seven days a week; making it easier to access medical practitioners who have already completed the training; and allowing online appointments.

It also outlined access issues to those in regional parts of the state, with the board saying there was a need for more specialists in regional areas.

The number of medical practitioners trained and registered for assisted dying was also growing, increasing by 30 per cent from the first six months.

More than 420 medical practitioners in Victoria had registered for the mandatory training, of which 76 per cent were registered in the portal where forms and permit applications must be submitted.

Of those registered in the portal, 50 per cent were GPs. Sixteen per cent specialised in oncology, five per cent in neurology and three per cent in palliative care medicine.

Under Australian law, it is an offence to use online or telephone services for suicide-related material, which includes voluntary assisted dying.

Some applicants and their families said the Covid-19 pandemic created additional stress for people who were vulnerable and trying to self-isolate as well as going through the assisted dying process.


Victorias Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board received reports of issues with access to the scheme from those living in regional or rural parts of the state, and others complaining the process was too protracted.

One contact person said there was a wait-time of a month to see a specialist, and the person had to go to Melbourne as there was no specialist involved in the programme locally.

This was too much. It was a terribly long day, and she was in considerable pain. She was exhausted by the end of it, they said in the report.

Others felt they had to wait far too long to receive their lethal medication.

Another contact person said their loved one was in a facility which was not supportive of voluntary assisted dying, so had to move to another one.

This was very stressful at the time; however, the new facility gave him a private room in the most beautiful setting and were very supportive, they said.

Victoria was the first state in Australia to pass voluntary assisted dying laws a move followed by Western Australia in December.


New Zealands proposed law is similar to that passed in Australia, including that only those who are likely to die from a terminal illness within six months could be eligible.

Under Victorian law, only those suffering from an incurable, advanced and progressive disease, illness or condition who are experiencing intolerable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner the person considers tolerable can access voluntary assisted dying.

The persons condition must be assessed by two medical practitioners to be expected to cause death within six months.

This is almost identical to the Act going to referendum in New Zealand in October.

Mental illness or disability alone are not grounds for access to voluntary assisted dying, but people who meet all other criteria, and who have a disability or mental illness, will not be denied access under Victorias law.

Voluntary assisted dying must be voluntary and initiated by the person themselves, and will usually be self-administered.

In New Zealand, assisted dying is defined in the End of Life Choice Act as a doctor or nurse practitioner giving a person medication to relieve their suffering by bringing on death, or, the taking of medication by a person to relieve their suffering by bringing on death.

To be eligible for assisted dying under the Act, a person must be suffering from a terminal illness likely to end their life within six months.

They must have significant and ongoing decline in physical capability, and experience unbearable suffering that cannot be eased in a manner that the person finds tolerable.

They must initiate the topic with their healthcare professional, and two doctors must agree they meet the criteria.

A person would not be eligible if the only reason they give is that they are suffering from a mental disorder or mental illness; have a disability of any kind; or because of their advanced age.

For more Stuff coverage on the euthanasia referendum, click here.

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Euthanasia referendum: 124 Australians access assisted dying in first year - Stuff.co.nz

Eradicating abortion and euthanasia, protecting life primary in political deliberation – Rhode Island Newspaper

Every electoral cycle, Catholics hold significant sway over who will ultimately win the Presidency. But Catholics do not comprise a homogenous voting bloc in comparison to other religious denominations. In some ways, this makes sense. After all, the Church is not a political party. The Mystical Body of Christ transcends the political order, while still recognizing its natural role in achieving human flourishing. Thus, Catholics can legitimately disagree about the persuasiveness of candidates or the effectiveness of their policies. As Cardinal Ratzinger taught, there may be a legitimate diversity of opinion about certain prudential decisions affecting the polity, such as waging war or applying the death penalty. Sadly, however, the contemporary political arena has evaded the possibility of many political discussions due to the consistent assault against human life proffered by some candidates.Diverse political persuasions can be healthy in a democracy; but when those political opinions diverge on whether to protect innocent human life, compromise is simply not possible. Ratzinger thus also insisted that there cannot be a diversity of opinion in politics with regard to issues such as abortion and euthanasia, because they are intrinsic moral evils. Undoubtedly, the Church does not and will not endorse any particular candidate. But the Church emphatically teaches that eradicating the evils of abortion and euthanasia, and protecting the inviolable right to life, are primary in the order of political deliberation.

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Eradicating abortion and euthanasia, protecting life primary in political deliberation - Rhode Island Newspaper

Euthanasia referendum: The Kiwi who will choose to die if the End of Life Choice Bill passes – Newshub

The only sign something's not quite right, Armstrong says, is the way it affects his mental state. He says he lives "under a cloud of depression" that is triggered unexpectedly.

"The physical stuff is one thing, but the main way it affects you every day is the sadness. I let myself grieve every few weeks, then I just dust myself off and get on with it," he said.

"The thing is with this that it could be the next test I have [when my medication will be ineffectual], or the one after, or the one three months later where it's going to have overtaken the medication and we need to be looking at other options."

It's then, when his quality of life begins to deteriorate, that he wants to be given the opportunity to die how he wants.

Armstrong says he wants to go out on horseback, surrounded by his wife and family.

Based on recent polling, he's confident that choosing how he wants to die is an opportunity he'll get.

"I'm not afraid of death, because I know when my life is finished it'll be according to my set of rules," he said.

"I'll be able to say, 'Hey, I don't feel curling up in a ball in palliative care in some shitty hospital somewhere amping up the morphine until I slowly drift into unconsciousness'."

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Euthanasia referendum: The Kiwi who will choose to die if the End of Life Choice Bill passes - Newshub

Have your say readers comments on Top News – Euro Weekly News

HERE are a selection of our top engaging posts on Facebook over the weekend and our readers comments on them.

UK Government could slash holiday quarantine from a fortnight to eight days

Given the poor controls and monitoring of those supposedly quarantining, frankly academic and this is more to do with politics than health. BS

Get ready for rain as DANA hits Spain

Well considering a fair few peoples in the Balearics follow the Euro Weekly it is accurate, we have been placed on an orange warning from midnight tonight, so no scaremongering going on here. NS

Covid does for bullfighting what the protesters cannot

You are right they should not be doing anything to support this disgusting activity. TK

Facebook Blocks Terminally ill Frenchmans Wish to Livestream his Own Death

If terminally ill and in painYes I totally agree with euthanasia. We put our fur babies to sleep if in pain, so why do our loved ones have to suffer?This gentleman probably wants to show the world that euthanasia is painless and you just go to sleep. CP

Covid tests could be showing inactive traces of the virus

Proper journalism well done EWN now keep digging theres more to this and you know it. TL

Mystery Lottery winner has only one week to claim 65 million prize!

Feed and house the Scotland homeless if not claimed. PB

Scottish travellers enraged at confusion over quarantine measures

The UK, four countries four separate prime ministers well they think they are what else can you expect when they all differ confused he says confused am I. AW

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle scoop 120 million Netflix dealHe has lost all sense of loyalty its all about cash and using familys private business to do so leaves him no credit. RMS

Thank you for reading Have your say readers comments on Top News. You may also wish to read Euro Weekly News readers letters and opinion.

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Have your say readers comments on Top News - Euro Weekly News

Election 2020: First-time voter wants to help others make an informed decision on euthanasia – Stuff.co.nz

Warwick Smith/Stuff

Sarah Ridsdale is organising a public meeting for journalist and author Caralise Trayes to speak about euthanasia, the topic of her recently published book.

A first time voters keen interest in the euthanasia referendum has led her to organise an event on the issue.

Sarah Ridsdale, 19, from Palmerston North, will vote for the first time on October 17.

She said one of the confusing parts of this years election was that the euthanasia referendum was binding while the cannabis referendum was not.

A binding referendum means that the result must be acted upon or implemented.

READ MORE:* Election 2020: How will Taranaki candidates vote in the cannabis, end of life referendums?* MPs vote 69-51 to pass David Seymour's End of Life Choice bill* Euthanasia referendum on the cards after tight vote in Parliament


What is the euthanasia referendum and what are you voting for? The End of Life Choice Act explained.

Ridsdale wanted to be able to make an informed decision on euthanasia and came across the book The Final Choice End of Life Suffering: Is Assisted Dying the Answer?

It was really helpful to read about the big personal points of view, as well as the more technical aspects of the law.

The End of Life Choice Act had been passed in Parliament, but would only become law if more than 50 per cent of people voted in favour of it.

Ridsdale wanted to help other people get informed, so they too could make a calculated decision.

We have a belief that its never OK to end another persons life, and this law says that, under some circumstances, it is. Thats a big change in mindset, we need to think about this carefully

The Final Choice author Caralise Trayes will speak at the event, with insights into what she learnt while researching and writing the book.

Trayes interviewed more than 20 experts on both sides of the argument, including those with terminal illnesses, lawyers, doctors, ethicists and clerics.

Director of palliative care at the Arohanui Hospice Dr Simon Allan will also speak at the event.

It will be a family affair, with Risdales father as MC, her brother and sister on music, and her mum helping with its organisation.

Two sessions on the euthanasia referendum will be held at the Globe Theatre in Palmerston North on September 16, at 3.30pm and 7pm.

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Election 2020: First-time voter wants to help others make an informed decision on euthanasia - Stuff.co.nz

New Zealand split on legalising cannabis in ‘reeferendum’ – The Guardian

Support for the Yes and No campaigns in New Zealands referendum on legalising and taxing cannabis is split at 49.5% each, six weeks out from voting day.

The No campaign, which aims to keep the status quo, has a slight edge in the poll by news outlet Stuff when only registered voters are counted, leading 50.8% to 48.4%. Voting and being on the electoral roll is optional in New Zealand.

The reeferendum is being held alongside a similar referendum on euthanasia at the national election on 17 October.

The new poll, of 1,300 voters, shows the closeness of the debate. Previous polls linked to major TV networks have shown the No vote ahead, while most online polls show the opposite.

The vote is being held at the behest of the Greens, which made the referendum a condition of their support for Jacinda Arderns Labour-led government in 2017.

Ardern has refused to be drawn on which way she will vote, and has a neutral history on the topic. Thats drawn the ire of campaigners, hoping the countrys most popular politician might intervene to tip the ballot their way.

Labour has offered its MPs a conscience vote while opposition National MPs are all voting against it.

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New Zealand split on legalising cannabis in 'reeferendum' - The Guardian