At the Marsden College debate on the End of Life Choice Bill on Wednesday evening, Sir Bill English used emotive language as he described how distressing it would be for his wife Mary, a GP, if a patient asks to apply for aid in dying. She, he claimed, is required to refer them to “someone who will kill you. “ “She is not allowed to object”, he asserted. Poor Mary! If she would just read the End of Life Choice Bill she would find that Clause 6 allows her to have a conscientious objection, and the only thing the Bill requires her to do is refer the patient to SCENZ Group, where they can get the name and contact details of a replacement medical practitioner.
There are two of Sir Bill’s statements with which I take issue. First the suggestion that the replacement medical practitioner from SCENZ “will kill you.“ Where do you see that in the Bill, Sir Bill? It’s fear-mongering rubbish! The replacement doctor has to go through the full process, recording everything for later examination by the Registrar (Assisted Dying).
Second, let’s imagine that clause 7 was removed, as Sir Bill seems to wish. This clause requires the doctor to declare a conscientious objection. Where would that leave the patient? Without clause 7(2) the doctor could the sabotage the legitimate request of a patient because of their own, undeclared, conscientious objection. That really would be immoral!
Dianne Cooper has long been a supporter of voluntary euthanasia, as was her mother, Celia Cooper, of Auckland. Dianne lives at Waikanae, on the Kapiti Coast. Writing is her main contribution to the campaign to get the End of Life Choice Bill into law.