It is vital for the moral fabric of New Zealand that we vote NO in the upcoming End of Life Choice referendum.
Voting NO in this referendum is not incompatible with caring and loving people, or understanding the pain many people endure at the end of their lives. In fact, as a church, we regularly help people during these difficult times and understand why someone in pain would desire to end their life. But this bill is not the solution.
While I respect the good intentions of those who support this bill and their right to promote it, there is no doubt that the so-called protections around this will be abused. It has happened in other nations that have legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide, and it will happen in New Zealand.
The bill is vague, open to interpretation, and the criminal, social and ethical ramifications are significant. It is alarming that safeguards recommended by health professionals were dismissed. This Act requires no cooling-off period, no independent witnesses to protect against abuse and no mental competency test when receiving euthanasia.
As in all areas of life, there are people who do the wrong thing for personal gain or selfish reasons and this will be no exception. The bill calls for one doctor to “do their best” to ensure that anyone making this decision is doing so of their own free will, yet this is impossible to guarantee. To suggest that this bill will protect the vulnerable is naive, and in fact it is more likely to put the vulnerable at risk.
Life is not given by humankind but is a gift from God, and no person has the right to end a life. In the context of this bill, this means that no man or woman should be allowed to intentionally and proactively end the life of another. If we are given this right in this situation, where does it stop? Legislation without moral and ethical boundaries will not protect the lives of New Zealanders. Our church has counselled people who have not wanted to keep living but who have later found amazing happiness and are grateful they did not end their life.
ARISE Church believes that God loves and values every person, and through Jesus gives us all life and hope. We believe that God’s plan does not expire for any of us and that this hope extends beyond this world and lasts for eternity. We accept that not everyone shares our worldview, but we’d like to believe that all of us share a belief that life and hope must be extended to every person for the duration of their entire life on earth.
I urge you to vote against this bill at the referendum.