David Seymour’s euthanasia attack bigotry at utmost


A televised debate on the euthanasia referendum went septic when ACT leader, David Seymour accused Palliative Care Specialist, Dr Sinead Donnelly of basing her objections on religion, not facts.

Donnelly and Seymour appeared on TV3’s Newshub Nation on Saturday morning.

Donnelly said the proposed Act is a “dangerous law” that will put the lives of 25,000 vulnerable people at risk.

“I think that it would be a lot more respectable if instead of making up these kinds of what I call ‘false objections’ if Dr Donnelly came here and said ‘this choice is against my religion, and I don’t want other people to be able to make that choice’.

“It would be a lot more respectable if she would say that,” Seymour said in reply.

Donnelly was visibly shocked.

“That’s a disgraceful, sectarian comment.

“I have 25 years of experience in palliative medicine, I speak from a professional point of view, I’m an associate professor of palliative medicine, research and education, I’ve worked in four different countries – so I speak from that platform and that experience.

“I deeply care for people – that’s all I care about. Four generations of doctors in my family… I know we can relieve their suffering through palliative care.

“Palliative care works”.

Donnelly said Seymour’s comments were “bigotry at its utmost”.

“I’ve travelled literally from Kerikeri to Gore campaigning for this law,” Seymour said.

“I’ve heard the stories of New Zealanders who have seen bad death. No matter how much people try to say ‘just a bit more palliative care, it’s going to be okay’ they know what they’ve seen. They want to have that choice of dignity and control.

“It’s their life – it should be their choice. It’s not up to others to tell them that they should stick around a bit more to fit someone else’s morality.”

Donnelly explained some of the common objections to the proposed law.

These include fears people will be coerced into ending their own lives. She also pointed out that some people make miraculous recoveries after being close to death.

“Prognostication is an estimate… we get it wrong most of the time. Even within a few days of death.”

“Families often ask ‘how long have they got to live?’

“We generally say we’re not sure, we don’t know… It’s not as if we plug in the patient’s details into a computer and out pops a date of death,” Donnelly said.


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