Hear from Someone Affected by Suicide
I oppose the intent of this bill because I believe that it puts some of our most vulnerable people at irreversible risk. I do not want assisted suicide to be legalised in any form.
There are many reasons for this, I am sure many have been written about. There are plenty of statistics from those few countries that have this sort of option legalised and they do not make pretty reading. I am going to give some more personal reasons.
As far as vulnerable goes, there isn’t much more vulnerable than an elderly person. My Grandmother has now passed on, but she was much loved and we would not have wanted her time here to be any shorter. However, Grandma did get to a stage where she felt a burden, she would say things such as “I’m just in way,” or “Oh, I’m such bother,” “but it's so much money” (for care or whatever). I can see how in the wrong circumstances, it would be incredibly easy to cause someone in this vulnerable state, who is feeling maybe a bit depressed, not needed, or useless, a burden to their family, to believe that assisted suicide is what they actually want. What an awful position to put someone in.
I have a number of family and friends who have struggled with depression, some still do. My son has had times of anxiety and depression, to the point where he has written, “I wish I were dead”. Suicide rates in NZ are still horrifyingly high. We have organisations, medical professionals and lay people alike who have put incredible time and effort into working to get the suicide rate in NZ down. Having an assisted suicide option would make a mockery of all the work done in this area of the past decade. I believe that having assisted suicide as an option for anyone sends the message to those who are struggling, that suicide is more ‘okay’ or ‘normal’ as an option. Most mental illnesses are not ongoing in their severity and with support, medications and/or counselling most people find they can get through these sometimes incredibly dark times and go on to live happy healthy lives, even though in their darkest times, a large percentage of them would not have believed that possible. Would they seek this help if they felt there was an easier ‘out’ that was somehow acceptable to society?
And yes, I understand that there would be procedures to try and prevent these things happening, but how can there be 100% assurance that the most vulnerable in our society are protected and that not even one person would be murdered? How can you stop assisted suicide ‘normalising’ suicide in general, to some extent? I just cannot see that it would ever be possible to give that assurance, so I must strongly oppose this bill.