Dying with Dignity

Opinion: Sandra Kanck, 17th October 2017

Saint Joan, in the George Bernard Shaw play of that name, grabs her confession and tears it to pieces. ‘You think that life is nothing but not being stone dead’ she sobs. Having confessed to whatever her accusers wanted in order to gain her freedom Joan has discovered she has merely avoided being burnt at the stake. Instead she is to spend the rest of her life imprisoned. She chooses that fiery death.

Not being stone dead. That’s what the opponents of voluntary euthanasia continue to foist upon us via weak politicians who bend to conservative lobbyists. This lobby hold enormous sway, just as in the same sex marriage debate, despite them representing less than ten percent of the population.

Whilst in the South Australian parliament I twice introduced bills to legalise voluntary euthanasia, experiencing first-hand the dishonest tactics these people and groups use. They claimed to be Christians but truth was not part of their agenda. Control was.

The same tactics are being employed in Victoria right now aimed at frightening politicians from supporting the voluntary euthanasia bill before their parliament.

They tell us that only their god can decide when a life is to end. Tough luck if you don’t happen to believe in their god and you have a medical condition which makes your life no longer worth living.

Last year my local MP voted against the most recent South Australian bill. He nobly told a small delegation, of which I was a part, he could not have on his conscience the early death of even one person as a result of misuse of the bill. This is an ‘if’ balanced against what we know of people living – and dying – in dreadful circumstances. Why does that ‘if’ have more power than the reality of cruel, enforced suffering? I asked him what he would say to my father who had starved himself to death. Where was the nobility in allowing him no other choice? My MP could only shake his head.

It’s time that MPs around the country stood up to these lobbyists, their lies and their fear tactics. It’s time to push them out of the way and allow the rest of us the right to choose to die with dignity.


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