Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying

Also known as Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

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Senator Burston – you have lied to me here, and to Carol Cronk

I, Ian Wood, wrote to NSW Senator Burston a cover letter to accompany a letter from Carol Cronk, that outlined an incurable neurological condition that Carol is experiencing, and asking the Senator to support the Restoring Territory Rights (Assisted Suicide Legislation) Bill, that could have resulted in a voluntary assisted dying law.  Carol is a committed supporter of our group.

We were both very pleased when we received this letter of support from the Senator.

Burston clearly states “I will be supporting the bill”. Yet eight days later he voted against the bill! He did not speak on the Bill during the debate. Readers will note that the Senator has One Nation Senator on his letterhead, and signs himself Senator for United Australia Party.  In retrospect that should have alerted my to the fact he could be two-faced!

Combined with Senator Georgiou, who also changed from a vote Yes, to a vote No, the Bill was lost 36 votes to 34.

I will leave readers to decide on the morality and ethics of this situation. Just what pressure was applied at the very last minute to Burston, and by whom?

After the vote, I sent Senator Burston’s letter back to him, with my comment written on it. Clearly I was not happy!

Carol was quite devastated.  Obviously Burston has no thought or compassion for the damage his change of position has done for the truly vulnerable – those like Carol.

Carol also wrote back to Senator Burston, and with her permission I include the letter here. I will update this post if we receive a reply from the Senator.

Dear Senator Burston

Our hearts/spirits were intensely lifted by your positive letter to us, dated 7 August 2018 (Ref TS20180807) advising us that you absolutely were going to vote for the Restoring Territory Rights legislation, and this gave us hope that it would ultimately lead to “euthanasia- end of life choices”.

I write to now to express my disgust and betrayal of this letter of support. You have turned your back on us all, by voting against the bill. I/we were so crushed by it, especially as your vote destroyed all of our hopes.

As I advised you in my earlier letter, I have my diagnosis of a type of dementia, which is killing off my brain cells until its wrathful journey ends all of my brain functioning. It is taking my world away. I will not allow my family to view me this way. Continue reading

Prime Minister Turnbull, your opposition to the NT right to legislate for Voluntary Assisted Dying is totally undemocratic!

Copy of my letter emailed to Prime Minister Turnbull

Dear Prime Minister Turnbull

On Tuesday 14 August 2018 the Senate is set to debate legislation lifting the ban on NT and ACT controlling their own voluntary euthanasia laws.

The Liberal Party of Australia platform includes: We believe in the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; ……

“If the vote came on, if I was a Senator, I would be voting against it,” Mr Turnbull said on SBS News.

This is in spite of the fact that Victoria passed their Voluntary Assisted Dying law last year.

So Mr Turnbull, you believe the 250,000 people of the NT should be denied “the inalienable rights and freedoms” permitted the people of Victoria!

Mr Turnbull. Your position is both hypocritical and totally undemocratic.

Ian Wood

Spokesperson                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      for the Australia-wide group, Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Mittagong NSW

Ian Wood gives a Christian response to Catholic Archbishop Prowse, Canberra on voluntary assisted dying

As reported in The Age, 18.5.2018    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/act/assisted-dying-an-ill-considered-and-dehumanising-practice-archbishop-20180518-p4zg5p.html

Assisted dying is an “ill-considered and dehumanising” practice reflecting a society in which there is more loneliness, Canberra’s Catholic archbishop Christopher Prowse has told an inquiry.

He spoke at an ACT Legislative Assembly committee’s second day of hearings into assisted dying in which doctors rubbished claims that palliative care could always manage end of life pain.

Archbishop Prowse told the committee it was a “lonely policy that only an atomised society would think about”, and said people approaching death experienced a “rollercoaster” that saw them take back comments they wanted to die earlier.

He said it would be a “fundamental mistake” to put vulnerable people at “grave risk” by allowing assisted dying.

When asked what was a good death, Archbishop Prowse recounted a time he sat with a woman as she died, and she squeezed his hand.

“I could tell she was on a journey but how grateful she was when she was with us,” he said.

“She was ready to go, ready to go and approach death.”

He admitted people he had spent time with as they were dying had said they wanted to die right away. However they changed their mind later, he said.

“Then people say, ‘I’m feeling a lot better today’.”

Ian Wood responds to Archbishop Prowse, as follows ……

Archbishop C. Prowse,                                                                                                                                                                                                    Canberra, ACT

I refer to the report of your evidence given to the ACT Assisted Dying hearing as reported in The Age, 18.5.2018.

Keith, described here by his wife, was on a “journey” too, but was certainly not “grateful” to still be alive “with us”!  (See attachment 1 below.)

You ignore the fact that over 1/3 of terminal patients in Oregon USA, who are given access to voluntary assisted dying medication, at their considered, repeated rational request, do not go on to take that fatal medication, but it does provide peace of mind in that they can choose to exit life if the suffering becomes unbearable. Having access is palliative in its own right.

Certainly when my sister-in-law Joyce died from ovarian cancer that had spread to her bones, she was not capable of squeezing any hands during her last two days! She said goodbye to her husband and family on a Sunday afternoon, but lingered on in a semi coma for another two days. In moments of lucidity she would ask why am I still here? Her husband is still suffering from the trauma of watching these last days. How much better and more compassionate it would have been for Joyce if she could have asked for, and been given medication to assist her to go to sleep and not wake up, after those final goodbyes.

The truly vulnerable are those who Continue reading

Ian Wood responds to Archbishop Julian Porteous of Tasmania, and his interview – a Christian Alternative to Euthanasia

The Art of Dying – A Christian Alternative to Euthanasia. Archbishop Julian Porteus. His interview on Cradio, Tasmania. https://cradio.org.au/shows-and-audio/exclusive-to-cradio/q-a/art-dying-christian-alternative-euthanasia/#comment-152750

A Christian response to the Archbishop from Ian Wood.

I urge the Archbishop and his listeners on Cradio  to take the time to view two contrasting deaths, from the many I have on file.

The assisted death of John Shields in Canada. “At his own wake” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/25/world/canada/euthanasia-bill-john-shields-death.html

A fascinating depiction of how John, raised in a Catholic family, was ordained as a priest, but left the Church after being barred from preaching when he challenged the church opposition to birth control. Read about John’s life as a social worker, his diagnosis with terminal neuropathy and then his advocacy for Medical Assistance in Dying, and using that choice at the end.

John Shields says goodbye to friends and family at his own ‘Irish wake’

Please compare John’s death with that of Flora Lormier from Multiple Sclerosis.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/help-die-family-release-heartbreaking-9614060#ICID=sharebar_facebook

Flora became paralysed from the neck down as her MS progressed.  Her daughter Tracey Taylor posted these photos on a Facebook page and in media such as the Mirror, UK, in the hope it would alert MPs to the futile horrific suffering endured by some people as they die.

Warning: disturbing images….. Continue reading

‘I am convinced that physician-assisted dying can be, and is, practised responsibly’, Ann Jackson, Oregon USA

One of the best articles in support of choice in assisted dying that I have read. Ann Jackson comprehensively rebuts the arguments used by those opposing compassionate choice, using the knowledge from her long personal experience in Oregon, USA.  It is particularly relevant, as Ann initially voted against the Oregon Act, but now strongly supports it.

Ann’s letter appears in the Guernsey Post, UK, where Guernsey is considering a vote on assisted dying. My sincere thanks, Ann, for writing this. Ian Wood.

 ‘I am convinced that physician-assisted dying can be, and is, practised responsibly’, says Ann Jackson, Oregon USA

MY NAME is Ann Jackson. In June 2008, after 20 years, I retired as executive director and chief executive officer of the Oregon Hospice Association, during which time I was involved in the public debates around assisted dying. I remain involved now, as an independent consultant about end-of-life options.
It is my understanding that Oregon’s assisted dying law has become a matter of debate in Guernsey ahead of a vote in May on whether to legislate for assisted dying on your island. When I was made aware of a recent letter published in the Guernsey Press (9 April) entitled ‘Oregon assisted-suicide model too good to be true’ I felt compelled to offer my professional experiences and put right misleading claims made by the author, Tony Meadowcroft. I hope that this letter also addresses concerns of Catherine Hall (Open Lines, 13 April).

There are various reasons people may oppose assisted dying but I do believe that the debate, wherever it occurs, should be based on evidence and facts.

As chief executive of the OHA, Continue reading

Hawaii 7th US state to pass law giving choice for voluntary assisted dying.

An historic day in Hawaii. Governor David Ige has just signed the Our Care, Our Choice Act into law so the residents of Hawaii will now join those of Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado, and Washington, D.C. in having the option, should they be terminally ill with less than 6 months to live, to end their lives in a humane and dignified manner. April 6, 2018.  Please share this great news.

Parliamentary Inquiry into End of Life Choices ongoing in Western Australia – please note!

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A time to die? Why I believe in the right to choose. Revd Canon Rosie Harper

A time to die? Why I believe in the right to choose

by Revd Canon Rosie Harper UK  

Don’t tell me that the time of someone’s death is purely God’s business. That at the moment when all a human soul wants is for it to end, God stands at the end of the bed and says: ‘No my child, it is my will that you suffer just a few more days.’”………

It’s the beginning of a new year and the script is that we talk about hope. It was a challenging 2017 but things will be OK. New opportunities, fresh blessings, more love and more joy.

So why am I wanting to talk about death? Well, it’s personal and also professional.

It’s personal because Continue reading

Victoria has become the first state to legalise assisted dying choice!

In an historic and humane victory for commonsense, Victoria has become the first state to legalise assisted dying choice!  Well done Victoria!

There was a deplorable lack of Christian compassion for the terminally ill with unbearable suffering shown by the MLCs opposing the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, resulting in its recent defeat. Indeed, many of the Victorian MPs opposing Voluntary Assisted Dying showed a similar lack of compassion and empathy, but thankfully these were outnumbered when it came to the final vote.

To sum up briefly…..

  • The vote on the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill was lost in the NSW Legislative Council (upper house) by 20 votes to 19 on Thursday 16 November 2017.
  • The Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passed the lower house on Oct 20, 2017, by 47 votes to 36, after a long and sometimes bitter debate. It then moved to the upper house.
  • The Bill passed the Victorian upper house by 22 votes to 18, but with amendments. This meant it had to go back to the lower house for the amendments to be accepted.
  • Back in the lower house, Wednesday 29.11.2017, there was an attempt to defer debate on the Bill indefinitely, but this was lost 46 votes to 37, and the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill then passed “on the voices.”

It is interesting that the reason for the one fewer “Yes” vote in this final session was that one of the supportive MPs, Government minister Natalie Hutchins missed the vote because she was attending her husband’s funeral and was not granted a pair.

Assisted dying choice for those who meet the rigid criteria will be accessible from mid 2019 to allow for processes and training to be implemented.

Other reports including some details on the Bill and accessing assistance, can be found here > http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/euthanasia-to-be-legal-in-victoria-from-2019-20171129-gzuxa8.html

And here > http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-29/euthanasia-passes-parliament-in-victoria/9205472

My sincere thanks to every one who has assisted, lobbied MPs, written letters, donated funds or helped in any way to make this day a reality. We can now move on to either WA or Tasmania, or perhaps South Australia, and there have even been rumblings in Queensland.

Ian Wood

Excellent news from Victoria with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passing the upper house, with amendments, by 22 votes to 18

Yes, it is excellent news from Victoria with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passing the upper house, with amendments, by 22 votes to 18.  It now goes back to the lower house to see if they will vote to accept the amendments and pass the Bill, so just one more hurdle to cross there!

 

Sincere thanks to Dying With Dignity Victoria and the team, Andrew Denton and the Go Gentle Australia/Stop Victorians Suffering team for your unstinting efforts and to every MP who voted for compassionate choice.

 

Shame that we failed by one vote in our NSW upper house a week earlier.

 

Ian Wood on behalf of all the members Australia-wide of Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia group.

Relief and jubilation as the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 passes the lower house and proceeds to their upper house.

We have the encouraging news that the Victorian Parliament lower house has passed their Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 by 47 votes to 37. It now has to go the the upper house for a vote there, so it is certainly not a foregone conclusion.

It was with considerable emotion that I watched the final vote in the Victorian Parliament Lower House on Friday morning 20th October after a debate of marathon proportions.

   The successful vote is announced by the Speaker.

I trust that the Victorian Upper House will be equally supportive Continue reading

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