Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Euthanasia – A Conscience Vote

Should a matter of this kind be decided by the people or leaders?

The government's proposal to give our politicians a conscience vote indicates its preference towards the people being involved. However, should Opposition refuse to free its members to vote by conscience the motion must fail, being passed only by an insufficient majority, on the ground that a convincing majority is essential in a matter of such serious import—which suggests also that a period be allowed before the vote to enable community consultation by representatives, each in their own electorates.

This seems to be advisable as it really is a decision for the people to make. Undoubtedly the beneficial interest of the individual concerned is of paramount importance as the main consideration but it is also a vital matter for us all that fairness and reliable process applies without question.

Those in favour probably consider the freedom of personal choice to be the most important consideration.

Those against may be influenced by a possibility of improper, or undue influence on feeble or senile aged patients. To guard against improper influence, it may be feasible to have the relevant person privately interviewed by an independent public advocate or mediator, or verification by two independent members of the medical profession.

Interference of religious leaders in this debate would seem to be totally inappropriate. In passing, one might wonder if those pleading ‘the sanctity of life’ are also committed pacifists.

We, the people, must rally to the cause of a more ready involvement in discussion of some of the more serious matters of our national life.

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