OPINION (Letter to Editor)
It is extremely naive to imagine that the legislation of euthanasia would affect only the very few, high-profile cases which so readily gain the public’s attention and sympathy (Ensuring the right to die, November 8).
Any such move would have profound and long-lasting effects.
Firstly, it would turn on its head the role of doctors and nurses. Poisons in deliberately lethal doses would be stored in hospital dispensaries. Practitioners who refuse to take part would be on the outer, accused of flouting the law and the rights of their patients.
Secondly, the true victims of such a change would be the elderly and disabled. Faced with the cost of their treatment, many vulnerable patients would bow to pressure from family members who would welcome the opportunity of being freed from the practical and financial burden of caring for them.
Anyone sceptical of this happening should check out the current rate of elder abuse in the country.
Thirdly, legalising the right to assisted dying would severely impact the already difficult work of suicide prevention.
Among the many downhill benchmarks of the notorious “slippery slope” initiated by such legislation, this is likely to be the first and the most devastating.
Dominion Post Letters to the Editor, Thursday, September 13, 2014.
Letter by D Penk, Auckland