A New Zealand campaign is publishing written and video testimonies of people who oppose euthanasia in that country, reports MercatorNet.
Two years ago Lecretia Seales, a woman dying from brain cancer, asked the New Zealand High Court to give her the legal right for a doctor to help her end her life. The court ruled that there was no such right under existing law and Ms Seales, 42, died hours later of natural causes. Shortly after, Labour MP Maryan Street and the Voluntary Euthanasia Society presented a petition to parliament for a law change to allow doctor-assisted suicide.
The government responded to the petition – signed by 8975 people – with a public inquiry into end-of-life issues. More than 20,000 people made submissions to the Health select committee and oral submissions from 1800 of them are continuing. Three out of four submissions oppose euthanasia – a fact that is not widely known
To change that, a campaign called 16,000Voices is publishing written and video testimonies representing the variety of people who have made their views known to the committee. MercatorNet interviewed Dr Jane Silloway Smith, whose analysis of submissions forms the basis of the information provided in 16,000Voices.
Dr Jane Silloway Smith is the Auckland-based Director of Every Life Research Unit. Her analysis of submissions made to the committee forms the basis of the information provided in 16,000Voices.
The 16,000Voices campaign encompasses a website with videos and written submissions, alongside a Facebook page and YouTube channel.
In the interview, Dr Silloway Smith said the campaign allowed the views of those who spoke "from their hearts and from their experiences" to be heard.
"We also wanted New Zealanders to know what the committee's been hearing. Most Kiwis assume that the majority of the submissions given must have been in favour of euthanasia - but that's not the case at all - quite the opposite! If we, as citizens, don't know what the committee's heard, how can we accurately hold them to account for what they write in their report to parliament?" she said.
"Using videos, we felt, was an essential component of sharing people's stories. See their faces, hear their words - these people could be your friends, your neighbours, your colleagues, members of your family. Video allows us to connect with the person and their ideas, something that's often tough to do on complex issues like euthanasia."
16,000Voices – Kiwis say no to euthanasia (MercatorNet)