Press release: Legalising euthanasia or assisted suicide would be bad for New Zealand

“While the decision by Labour MP Maryan Street to withdraw her Euthanasia Bill from the Members Ballot today is welcomed, we understand that it arises from purely political motives – a wish to avoid a controversial debate in an election year – rather than out of concern for the dangerous social consequences of such a Bill,” says Dr John Kleinsman, Director of The Nathaniel Centre, the Catholic Bishops bioethics agency.

“The current law provides the best possible protection for people. We have always had grave concerns about the consequences of state-sanctioned killing of persons as well as moves to promote easier access to suicide as a way of dealing with suffering. We will continue  to highlight the dangers and negative social consequences that would flow from legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia. While the Bill has been withdrawn for now, we know the debate will continue,” says Dr Kleinsman. “Ironically, Street’s decision coincides with reports in the media of a high-level review into suicide prevention amongst those with addictions and mental health issues. Why would we want to make suicide easier to access when, at the same time, we recognise it as a major social tragedy?”  

“Ultimately, the law change being proposed in Ms Street’s End of Life Choice Bill would have eroded the choices of many and would not have lead to good robust decisions or better end of life care.  We remain committed to advocating for equitable access to quality palliative care, disability support, and mental health services for people and their families,” says Dr Kleinsman.

Review of The Human Tissue Act and Proposed New Zealand Law Change to Organ Donor Rules

23 March 2006

The New Zealand Parliament is set to debate a change in the law that would stop anyone overturning an organ donors' wishes.

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Should Human Embryos be Used for Research in New Zealand?

9 February 2007

Background and Context:

 

In 2004 the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act (the HART Act) came into effect in New Zealand. Passed by Parliament, this Act established a legal framework for human assisted reproductive procedures such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and for research that uses human gametes (sperm or eggs), human embryos, or hybrid embryos (created, for example from a human gamete and a non-human gamete). Under the Act a committee was established to advise the Minister of Health on matters concerned with reproductive technology including research. Recently, the Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ACART) after hearing public submissions recommended to the Minister the approval of research using cells from established human embryonic stem cell lines. The Ministry of Health has subsequently issued guidelines for such research. The Minister has now asked ACART for advice on whether human gametes and embryos might be used for research in New Zealand.

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New Vatican Document is a Positive Affirmation of Human Dignity and Ethical Research

12 December 2008

Statement on Dignitas Personae [Download PDF]

"Looked at closely, the Instruction Dignitas Personae is a realistic and positive document that recognises the often competing desires generated by developments in biomedical research at the beginning of life," says spokesperson for the New Zealand Catholic Bioethics Centre, Mr John Kleinsman, commenting on the newly released Vatican document.

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New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Statement

26 November 2009

Family Planning Hamilton Request for a Licence to Dispense Mifepristone (Mifegyne ® RU 486) with Misoprostol for Early Medical Abortions [EMA].

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops' are opposed to and deeply concerned at the possible granting of a licence to dispense Mifepristone (Mifegyne® RU 486) with Misoprostol at the Hamilton Family Planning Clinic or at any other of the 29 New Zealand Family Planning Clinics for the purpose of procuring abortions. RU 486, when used with Misoprostol procures abortion without the need for surgical intervention.

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Reflection on the New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Statement

26 November 2009

"Congregations must understand that people with unwanted pregnancies are making choices about someone who, in a very real sense, belongs to the entire congregation. If the baby is born it will be baptized into the community and become part of each member's life...if aborted that spot will be filled only by a hole... The congregation, then, must respond to either that baby or that empty space by recognizing their complicity in the structuring of a world where such a decision was made ... congregations can respond this way only if they understand that what is growing inside that woman's body is part of the life of the congregation..."

Kathy Rudy, "Thinking through the Ethics of Abortion."

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Catholic Teaching on Euthanasia and Care of the Dying

16 November 2010

Human dignity is unconditional

In New Zealand we are currently witnessing renewed calls for euthanasia to be legalised. Those in favour of euthanasia promote the understanding that 'a dignified death' or 'death with dignity' rests on our right to have control over our own death, including the right to have someone end it for us at a time of our choosing.

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To live each day with dignity: a statement on physician-assisted suicide

28 June 2011

A statement by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops