It did not take long. Just three days – if that – for the politicians to get voluntary euthanasia well and truly off the political agenda.
Such is the wariness of MPs when confronted with conscience votes on such matters where they consider they have more to lose than they stand to gain.
Last Friday they were tripping over one another in their haste to express their condolences to the family of Lecretia Seales. By Monday afternoon, Seales’ legacy – her surviving wish for people like her who have a terminal illness which causes enduring suffering to be able to determine when they die – had effectively been sidelined by the two major parties.
Seales’ legal challenge prompted the High Court to throw responsibility for the law covering assisted death back into Parliament’s lap. The response of John Key and Andrew Little was to kick for touch.
The Prime Minister’s very deliberate statement yesterday that he was ‘open’ to a full select committee inquiry was designed to give the impression Parliament was actually doing something – while at the same time slotting into Labour’s plan for neutralising the issue.
Parliament will actually be doing nothing. Whatever an inquiry – which will take months aplenty – comes up with by way of a report and recommendations are not binding on the Government. Key can ignore the findings.
He will get little trouble from Little, whose demand that a private member’s bill on voluntary euthanasia promoted by one of his MPs be shelved tells you what priority he attaches to the issue.
Key also said there will be no Government-sponsored legislation paving the way for voluntary euthanasia.
(ed:..i am in two minds about this – mainly because of the possibilities of abuse (relatives urging ‘the taking of the pill’) – and the fact that palliative-care is so pain-aware/alert.
where/when you have the patient controlling how much morphine they will take – with pain-relief literally at their fingertips – the ‘suffering’-argument is lessened to a large degree..
and then there is the aspect of how far do you take it..?..with one european country allowing 12 yr olds..(with their parents’permission) to decide whether or not to take their own lives..
and my anecdotal-evidence comes from being a prime-carer for a friend who died about 18 months ago..
..i saw him living out his death-sentence – right up to the morphine at fingertips/palliative-care ending..
..and do i think an earlier opt-out option would have benefited him..?
he was so well cared for by the palliative-care institution he ended his life in…
no..i don’t think the euthanasia-option would have been better..
but of course that is only one anecdotal..circumstances differ..
but all of those factors lead me to the conclusion this is not a black and white decision/situation)