A Private Members Bill from PBP TD Gino Kenny is set to come before the Dáil TODAY seeking to legalise Assisted Suicide. The Bill proposes to make it legal for a medical practitioner to "enable" a person to end his or her own life.
As expected, the media have swung full-square behind the proposal, following suggestions from campaigners to describe the measure as legalising 'assisted death' and being about 'dignity in dying'. This repackaging of assisted suicide doesn't change the fact that killing people who are old or sick is not a compassionate answer. Gino Kenny's Bill would legalise Assisted Sucide where the person is terminally ill. Unlike other jurisdictions, there is no reference to 'unbearable pain' or a requirement to be assessed by a psychiatrist.
CALL or email your TD today (find their details here or here on the Oireachtas Website) and tell them to vote NO to the bill because:
- Older people, sick people and people with disabilities are in danger from this measure - in particular because of coercion from families and others to end their lives.
- In Oregon in 2018, some 54% of people killed by assisted suicide said that being a burden on family, friends and caregivers was a reason to end their lives. Experts like Dr Theo Boer from Holland, who used to support euthanasia, says it is now no longer considered a 'last resort'
- Assisted suicide and euthanasia rates have soared where it has been legalised - with 6,585 people being killed by the measures in 2017 in Holland alone. The rates have increased threefold since 2002 in that country. In Belgium, euthanasia was legalised in 2002: by 2014 the law had been extended to include children and up to 2,000 people are killed by assisted suicide/euthanasia each year.
- Medical experts say that pain and distress at the end of life can be properly alleviated with palliative care - a truly compassionate answer.
- In fact, polls have shown that palliative care consultants and other medical professionals are strongly opposed to assisted suicide. The World Medical Association in 2019 said: "the WMA is firmly opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, and added that “No physician should be forced to participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide, nor should any physician be obliged to make referral decisions to this end.”
- The slippery slope argument is real: now assisted suicide is legal in Holland and elsewhere if people have a psychological disorder. This is appalling.
- Disability rights campaigners are also raising their voices against assisted suicide, highlighting concerns that people with disabilities will also face pressure or coercion to end their lives.
- Legalising euthanasia can lead to contagion: one study showed that rates of (non-assisted) suicide increased after Assisted Suicide was legalised in Oregan and Washington.
- In some jurisdictions, insurance companies will cover the cost of assisted suicide but not of medical treatment. Assisted Suicide is shockingly seen as the 'cheaper' option.
In general, emotional personal stories are used to support legalising assisted suicide, but the dangers that follow will affect the lives of many other vulnerable people.
We've just lived through an unprecedented lockdown undertaken to protect the lives of older and vulnerable people - yet now some politicians want the law to support the intentional ending of the lives of the most vulnerable.
Palliative care and better support is the really compassionate answer, not assisted suicide. Is this seen as a cost-cutting measure by politicians?
Ireland has been described as having a suicide 'epidemic'. What message does it send vulnerable people if we make Assisted Suicide legal?
BILL TO BE DISCUSSED IN THE DÁIL, TUESDAY, 15TH SEPTEMBER 2020
Oregon Death with Dignity Act 2018
Is not a choiceWhen Insurance Companies refuse treatment, assisted suicide
How does legalisation of physician assisted suicide affect rates of suicide?
Contact your TDs and Senators as soon as possible. Thank you