An open letter on assisted suicide

I am a teacher in a high school in Porirua. Along with other qualifications I hold a BSc majoring in both Zoology and Psychology.

My father passed away in 2004 due to stomach cancer and my grandmother was in long term care for three years as the result of becoming disabled after several strokes.

As a result of this experience I have a valid perspective on the issue of euthanasia in New Zealand.

With my background and experience I express my concern and my opposition against the introduction of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide to New Zealand.

I believe that the idea and practice of euthanasia sends the clear message that suffering or illness is something that should not endure and must be ended.

Physician assisted suicide would undermine the message against teenage suicide. Legalising euthanasia sends the message to our most vulnerable that ending one’s life when you have had enough is officially supported by the state.

We need be recommend that we support and care for those at the end of life just as we strive to do so for people who are suffering from suicidal thoughts.

Often those who are contemplating euthanasia or physician assisted suicide are at their most vulnerable, either terminally ill or elderly.

There is a risk that coercive pressure, either from family or the social attitude, will make these people feel like a burden and subsequently they will request euthanasia from a feeling of necessity not of their own desire.

Gandhi once said “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members”.  To demonstrate the greatness of our nation we must demonstrate that we value, support and care for our weakest members. Continue reading

  • Jane Bourke is a Catholic Secondary School teacher who specialises in Science and Religion. As well as her BSc she holds a Post-Grad in Theology, an interest in dancing, cooking and an attempted desire for gardening. Jane lives with her husband in Wellington where she works to untangle the myth that Science and Religion don’t mix.
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