Issue 412, April 15, 2019
More than 90% of the record number of submissions oppose End of Life Choice Bill.
Analysis of 38,707 submissions to the Justice Select Committee shows that 34,932 (90.2%) opposed David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill, while just 3141 (8.1%) were in support.
The remaining 634 (1.7%) were either neutral or their position was unclear.
Peter Thirkell, Secretary of the Care Alliance, said that the 38,707 submissions were a record for any bill before the House, “and critically they were unique rather than ’postcard’ or ‘form’ submissions.”
Protagonists of the Bill, like its author and ACT Leader David Seymour would perhaps draw inspiration from the 1981 drama film ‘Whose Life is it Anyway?’ which showed Richard Dreyfuss as Sculptor Ken Harrison who is paralysed from the neck down after a car accident, and is no longer able to create art, make love or have any semblance of a normal existence. Confined to a hospital, Harrison hires lawyer Carter Hill who, reluctantly at first, represents him to petition legally for the right to end his life.
The Western View
Religions of the Western World have an uncompromising view, that it is wrong for anyone to end lives given by God. The classic liberal position, which is that of The Economist, which starts from a different premise. “Individuals have a right to self-determination, and this includes—perhaps, naturally culminates in—the right to cut short one’s own life.”
The publication has argued that Liberals should, however, recognise two qualifications.
“The first is one of principle. Men are not islands: in every life, other people’s interests are involved. It is often argued, by those of a paternalistic frame of mind, that these interests are also the state’s, which has a stake in preserving the lives of its citizens.”
There is something in this: the state should defend its population from aggressors, for example. In individual cases, however, the notion is offensive. A state has no property right in an individual, as if he were a mere payer of dues and taxes.
His life, including whether or not he believes in God, is his own business.