Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying

Also known as Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Category: Voluntary Assisted Dying (page 1 of 3)

Belinda’s Brave Walk – to raise the profile of Voluntary Assisted Dying

Belinda Teh starts her walk from Melbourne to Perth in memory of her Mum’s horrific and futile end of life suffering from breast cancer, to raise the profile of Voluntary Assisted Dying and to help convince MP’s of the need for this compassionate choice in Western Australia.  Walk safely Belinda, with best wishes, Ian Wood

Belinda says: “As a devout Catholic and nurse for 39 years – much of her nursing career spent in aged care – my mum could hardly be better informed about the moral and medical considerations at the end of one’s own life.

My beautiful mum Mareia experienced a horrific death which modern medicine and caring specialists could not save her from – and I don’t want her suffering to be in vain. 

I want WA to introduce voluntary assisted dying laws so that no Western Australian with a terminal illness has to die the way my mum did, enduring unspeakable pain and suffering that cannot be palliated in their final weeks, days and hours. 

Mum was a devout Catholic her whole life and took much joy in practising her faith. Equally, the day she asked for assisted dying, she did so without a hint of shame, and to me that means that she had reconciled her religious beliefs with her personal wishes in her own way. I like to say that “she had a chat with the man upstairs, and they figured it out between them.”

I want to send a message of hope to other Western Australians who have had their hearts broken, and a message of urgency to the politicians who are representing us when I leave Melbourne on 28 May, as I plan to trek west on foot, arriving in Perth on 6 August.

Belinda will be sharing her adventure on Facebook, you can stay updated by liking her Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BelindasBraveWalk/

To read more about Belinda and her mum, and to support Go Gentle Australia, go to http://www.belindasbravewalk.org.au/

Photo and story quoted on this website with permission.

 

Gov Philip Murphy, compassionate statement when signing New Jersey Assisted Dying Act

Governor Philip Murphy,  of New Jersey, USA, a ‘lifelong practicing Catholic’, has signed the “Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act”, on April 12, 2019, and made this incredibly thoughtful and compassionate statement (below) in support of assisted dying choice, at the time of signing.     Posted by Ian Wood.

https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562019/approved/20190412a.shtml

New Jersey Gov Philip Murphy ……..
GOVERNOR’S STATEMENT UPON SIGNING
ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 1504
(Second Reprint)
Today I am signing the “Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act”, Assembly Bill No. 1504 (Second Reprint), which permits terminally ill, adult patients residing in New Jersey to obtain and self-administer medication to end their lives peacefully and humanely. I commend the bill’s sponsors — particularly Assemblyman Burzichelli, for whom this bill has been an extremely passionate and personal mission since he first introduced it seven years ago — for their tireless efforts to craft legislation that respects the dignity and autonomy of capable individuals to make end-of-life decisions.


The legislation I am signing today is the product of a near-decade long debate among policy makers, religious organizations, experts in the medical community, advocates for persons with disabilities, and patients, among many others. Without question, reasonable and well-meaning individuals can, and very often do, hold different moral views on this topic. Through years of legislative hearings, countless witnesses, many of whom shared deeply personal and heart-wrenching testimony, offered compelling arguments both in favor of and against this legislation.


As a lifelong, practicing Catholic, I acknowledge that I have personally grappled with my position on this issue. My faith has informed and enhanced many of my most deeply held progressive values. Indeed, it has influenced my perspectives on issues involving social justice, social welfare, and even those topics traditionally regarded as strictly economic, such as the minimum wage. On this issue, I am torn between certain principles of my faith and my compassion for those who suffer unnecessary, and often intolerable, pain at the end of their lives.


It is undeniable that there are people with terminal illnesses whose lives are reduced to agony and pain. Some of these individuals may thoughtfully and rationally wish to bring an end to their own suffering but cannot do so because the law prevents it and compels them to suffer, unnecessarily and against their will. I have seen such debilitating suffering firsthand in my own family, and I deeply empathize with all individuals and their families who have struggled with end-of-life medical decisions. As things now stand, it is the law, rather than one’s own moral and personal beliefs, that governs such decisions. That is not as it should be. After careful consideration, internal reflection, and prayer, I have concluded that, while my faith may lead me to a particular decision for myself, as a public official I cannot deny this alternative to those who may reach a different conclusion. I believe this choice is a personal one and, therefore, signing this legislation is the decision that best respects the freedom and humanity of all New Jersey residents.
Continue reading

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

 

Senator Burston – you have lied to me here, and to Carol Cronk

I, Ian Wood, wrote to NSW Senator Burston a cover letter to accompany a letter from Carol Cronk, that outlined an incurable neurological condition that Carol is experiencing, and asking the Senator to support the Restoring Territory Rights (Assisted Suicide Legislation) Bill, that could have resulted in a voluntary assisted dying law.  Carol is a committed supporter of our group.

We were both very pleased when we received this letter of support from the Senator.

Burston clearly states “I will be supporting the bill”. Yet eight days later he voted against the bill! He did not speak on the Bill during the debate. Readers will note that the Senator has One Nation Senator on his letterhead, and signs himself Senator for United Australia Party.  In retrospect that should have alerted my to the fact he could be two-faced!

Combined with Senator Georgiou, who also changed from a vote Yes, to a vote No, the Bill was lost 36 votes to 34.

I will leave readers to decide on the morality and ethics of this situation. Just what pressure was applied at the very last minute to Burston, and by whom?

After the vote, I sent Senator Burston’s letter back to him, with my comment written on it. Clearly I was not happy!

Carol was quite devastated.  Obviously Burston has no thought or compassion for the damage his change of position has done for the truly vulnerable – those like Carol.

Carol also wrote back to Senator Burston, and with her permission I include the letter here. I will update this post if we receive a reply from the Senator.

Dear Senator Burston

Our hearts/spirits were intensely lifted by your positive letter to us, dated 7 August 2018 (Ref TS20180807) advising us that you absolutely were going to vote for the Restoring Territory Rights legislation, and this gave us hope that it would ultimately lead to “euthanasia- end of life choices”.

I write to now to express my disgust and betrayal of this letter of support. You have turned your back on us all, by voting against the bill. I/we were so crushed by it, especially as your vote destroyed all of our hopes.

As I advised you in my earlier letter, I have my diagnosis of a type of dementia, which is killing off my brain cells until its wrathful journey ends all of my brain functioning. It is taking my world away. I will not allow my family to view me this way. Continue reading

Prime Minister Turnbull, your opposition to the NT right to legislate for Voluntary Assisted Dying is totally undemocratic!

Copy of my letter emailed to Prime Minister Turnbull

Dear Prime Minister Turnbull

On Tuesday 14 August 2018 the Senate is set to debate legislation lifting the ban on NT and ACT controlling their own voluntary euthanasia laws.

The Liberal Party of Australia platform includes: We believe in the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; ……

“If the vote came on, if I was a Senator, I would be voting against it,” Mr Turnbull said on SBS News.

This is in spite of the fact that Victoria passed their Voluntary Assisted Dying law last year.

So Mr Turnbull, you believe the 250,000 people of the NT should be denied “the inalienable rights and freedoms” permitted the people of Victoria!

Mr Turnbull. Your position is both hypocritical and totally undemocratic.

Ian Wood

Spokesperson                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      for the Australia-wide group, Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Mittagong NSW

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