Eight Anglican bishops have called for a halt to the End of Life Choice Bill, which proposes legalising medically-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Aotearoa New Zealand.
In their submission to the Justice Select Committee on David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill this week, the bishops recommended no change to existing laws, and called for more funding of palliative care and counselling support for patients and their whanau.
Rather than introducing assisted dying as proposed in the Bill, the bishops believe our government should ensure New Zealanders have access to the best quality palliative and psycho-social care when faced with terminal illness.
They cite Australian doctor Karen Hitchcock who in her 12 years of work in large public hospitals has often heard patients express a wish to die, but says the cause of that desire is seldom physical pain,
“[It] is often because of despair, loneliness, grief, the feeling of worthlessness, meaninglessness or being a burden. I have never seen a patient whose physical suffering was untreatable,” she said.