Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying

Also known as Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

Christians Supporting Choice for VAD in Australia interview with Canadian Atheist.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to be interviewed by journalist Scott Jacobsen of the Canadian Atheist. Scott posed a series of questions on my approach with Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying.

The full interview, with my answers to Scott’s questions, can be found here > https://www.canadianatheist.com/2019/01/wood-jacobsen/

I hope readers find the article of interest.

It is encouraging to Continue reading

Liberal candidate Nathaniel Smith at odds with six other Wollondilly Electorate candidates on Voluntary Assisted Dying!

Liberal candidate Nathaniel Smith at odds with six other Wollondilly Election candidates on one issue – Voluntary Assisted Dying!

There was a good attendance of over 200 at a “Meet the Candidates” meeting organised by Friends of Bowral at the Mittagong RSL on Monday evening, 4th February, 2019.

All the candidates spoke on their aspirations for Wollondilly Electorate – particularly with regard to our hospital, schools, more policing, roads – including the Bowral Bypass, the water crisis – including the Murray/Darling, protection of animals and the environment, controlled development with infrastructure first, and the need for better, faster public transport to the area.

In fact only one question from the audience resulted in a significant difference of opinion! Judy Hannan (Independent), Charlie Fenton (One Nation), Jo-Ann Davidson (ALP), Clive West (Greens), Heather Edwards (Animal Justice), and Jason Bolwell (Shooters, Fishers & Farmers) were all unanimous in support for end of life choice for the terminally ill enduring severe suffering with even the best palliative care. Such Legislation is now law in Victoria.

Nathaniel Smith, (Liberal), was the only candidate to say he would vote against that choice. When asked by the questioner (Geoffrey Williams) why he would vote against Voluntary Assisted Dying when a majority of the Electorate would support it, Mr Smith simply stated that it was his opinion.

As Geoffrey Williams commented after the meeting – “This is yet another example of the Coalition, particularly the Liberal Party thumbing their noses at Democracy. They arrogantly believe that only their opinion matters. That’s easily fixed – we can vote for any of the other candidates present at the meeting, ALL of whom have a compassionate view.”

Top Canadian CMA doctors Buchman and Blackmer speak to UK Parliament in support of assisted dying

My thanks to My Death, My Decision for posting this article on their Facebook page.  Ian Wood

Dr Sandy Buchman, President-elect of the Canadian Medical Association addressed a UK Parliamentary group.  December 11, 2018

“I see assisted dying as one more tool in the service of palliative care’s core mission of alleviating suffering” – Dr Sandy Buchman, Canada.

As a palliative care specialist,  Dr Buchman acknowledged that his personal journey towards accepting assisted dying had spanned over two years.  He stressed that it was his belief high quality palliative care was key to good end of life planning, but that assisted dying did not threaten the provision of such care, but somewhat perversely strengthened the case for ensuring that palliative care was accessible and available.

Closing on a personal example, Dr Buchman explained that whilst he was initially hesitant about the prospect of assisted dying, he ultimately decided that helping patients who wanted to decide when and how they died, was an extension of what he had been doing already: helping to relieve suffering.

Dr Buchman explained that when he first participated in an assisted death, for a professor of medicine suffering from Lewy body dementia, he had been struck by the sense of “illumination”, as though “a weight had been lifted”, when he agreed to discuss the prospect of an assisted death, let alone participate.  He explained that whereas before his patient had explained he felt hopeless, especially after exhausting the options of traditional palliative care, the option of an assisted death enabled the patient’s mood to lift, and allowed him the dignity to die from a peaceful death surrounded by those he loved.  

Ian Wood comments: I frequently read how the option of assisted dying, once the patient has been accepted, is palliative in its own right and a tremendous morale booster for that dying person.

Dr Sandy Buchman, the President-elect of Canada’s Medical Association, who was joined by his Vice-President Dr Jeff Blackmer, discussed the role doctors had played in shaping Canada’s decision to legalise assisted dying in 2016. Continue reading

Rev Craig Kilgour, New Zealand. Sermon – My nephew had an assisted death in Canada: it was compassionate, it was humane, it was right and good.

From our friends across the Tasman I have this Sermon in strong support of Assisted Dying from Rev Craig Kilgour, when Interim Moderator at St Columba’s Presbyterian Church, Havelock North, New Zealand..

It is quite unique in that a nephew of Craig had an assisted death in Canada.  The last two paragraphs of the sermon sum up the compassionate Christian approach to Assisted Dying Choice: Let me finish this with what my family members said and repeated often using these words about my nephew’s death: It was compassionate, it was humane, it was right and good. And the family are very proud and humbled with the courage he showed in his battle with cancer. And to me no one has the right to be critical and judgemental of the choice he made.

So for me and my family this is not a philosophical debate, it is not a theological debate, it is not a theoretical debate, it is a reality and it was right and my nephew was fortunate he lived in Canada.

The sermon is posted here with the kind permission of Rev Craig. In response to my question on what was the reaction of his congregation to the sermon Craig replied: the reaction from the congregation was very positive with many copies requested. Copies went wider into the community. I’ve been asked to speak to a retired group of Doctors at Hastings hospital. 

Ian Wood

 

 

Rev Craig Kilgour

Sunday 14 October 2018

Assisted dying

The topic I’ve chosen for the sermon might seem strange for a morning when we celebrate the birth and baptism of Angus, but then I thought when life ends, we celebrate the life lived whatever the length.

I mentioned my dilemma to Granddad David and he said it evens things out!

I want to share with you this morning about what our family has experienced just recently.

I’m going to talk to you about assisted dying, euthanasia, a topic which is difficult to deal with, and it provokes very strong feelings.

The End of life choice Bill is currently with Parliament’s Justice Select Committee. There have been 35 000 submissions – think about terminal illness, a few months to live, sound mind, to allow physician-assisted death.

I with some of the congregation, attended a discussion on the Bill, that our MP Lawrence Yule had called with a panel of experts at our Community Centre a while ago.

The issue has been debated by the General Assembly of our church and they were unanimously opposed against supporting the Bill before Parliament.

After I took the service on 30 September, I went across to Takaka for the memorial service for my nephew who had died in Canada. He was 47 years old. The memorial service was held on Wednesday 3 October in the Pohara Boat Club – a place where he loved racing his yachting.

I did the eulogy and the internment of ashes at the local cemetery.

It was hard taking part in the service but good to spend a week with the family. I got back home last Monday.

So let me give you a background that led up to his death in Canada on 18 September.

My nephew Continue reading

Rev Dr Marvin Ellison -“Thou shall not torture”

Rev Dr Marvin Ellison of Maine USA, makes a powerful statement of Christian support for voluntary assisted dying in his opinion piece published in the Portland Press Herald, Maine, USA –

Maine Voices: In name of mercy, Maine Death With Dignity belongs on ballot

The measure [to include this in a referendum] would offer the dying an option to minimize needless suffering.

The original opinion piece title was more provocative – Rev Ellison has said he called it: “”Thou Shall Not Torture the Dying.”

Here are some quotes from Rev Ellison. I do urge viewers of this post to read the full article at the link below.

 “As a person of faith, ordained minister and professor of Christian ethics for more than three decades, I’m committed to seeking peace, justice and compassion in all things.”

“My religious tradition calls on the faithful to help reduce suffering in the world, including suffering at the bedside of those dying. For many, palliative care offers the comfort and support necessary to ease their way to a good death, but alas, palliative care is not always adequate to the task.”

“For others in the dying process, despite receiving the best palliative care, they find themselves ready to die, but unable to die. Too often they face a torturous ending.  Denying the dying person the freedom to end unnecessary, meaningless suffering is far from merciful; rather, it’s torturous.   Torture in any form is morally wrong.”

  • “As a person of faith, I hope and pray that Maine will join California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia and make assisted dying legally available, allowing adults of sound mind to make their own value choices at the end of life. Doing so, I suggest, is a faithful, principled, and compassionate way to affirm the dignity and well-being of the living and the dying.”

Rev Dr Marvin Ellison, a Willard S. Bass Professor Emeritus of Christian Ethics at Bangor Theological Seminary, USA, is a scholar-activist and ordained Presbyterian minister. 

Rev Dr Marvin Ellison

 Photo supplied by Rev Ellison

Please read the full article ……

The truth about end of life choices – Forum held in Sydney 11.11.2018

 

An outstanding group of experts gave us the facts in this Forum on voluntary assisted dying support. Essential viewing!

The emotional plea by Jan, wife of Tim Edwards, and their daughter, Jessica, who spoke at the meeting about the torturous death of Tim from mesothelioma certainly bought tears to my eyes! I just cannot understand why our MPs continue to ignore such futile suffering, especially those who profess to be Christian. Where is their compassion?

I had the privilege of meeting Tim not long before he died, and together we went to lobby our local MP, Jai Rowell.

Every MP who is against this choice, and all members of the ‘ACL” (Australian Christian Lobby) and the ‘HOPE no euthanasia’ group should watch the complete forum and become familiar with the truth behind the issue, and then perhaps understand why up to 85% of Australians support voluntary assisted dying.

Ian Wood

 

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

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.

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