Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying

Also known as Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Tag: voluntary euthanasia (page 1 of 3)

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.”

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

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

Ian Wood responds to Archbishop Julian Porteous of Tasmania, and his interview – a Christian Alternative to Euthanasia

The Art of Dying – A Christian Alternative to Euthanasia. Archbishop Julian Porteus. His interview on Cradio, Tasmania. https://cradio.org.au/shows-and-audio/exclusive-to-cradio/q-a/art-dying-christian-alternative-euthanasia/#comment-152750

A Christian response to the Archbishop from Ian Wood.

I urge the Archbishop and his listeners on Cradio  to take the time to view two contrasting deaths, from the many I have on file.

The assisted death of John Shields in Canada. “At his own wake” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/25/world/canada/euthanasia-bill-john-shields-death.html

A fascinating depiction of how John, raised in a Catholic family, was ordained as a priest, but left the Church after being barred from preaching when he challenged the church opposition to birth control. Read about John’s life as a social worker, his diagnosis with terminal neuropathy and then his advocacy for Medical Assistance in Dying, and using that choice at the end.

John Shields says goodbye to friends and family at his own ‘Irish wake’

Please compare John’s death with that of Flora Lormier from Multiple Sclerosis.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/help-die-family-release-heartbreaking-9614060#ICID=sharebar_facebook

Flora became paralysed from the neck down as her MS progressed.  Her daughter Tracey Taylor posted these photos on a Facebook page and in media such as the Mirror, UK, in the hope it would alert MPs to the futile horrific suffering endured by some people as they die.

Warning: disturbing images….. Continue reading

Ian Wood response to Catholic Bishop Ingham. “Euthanasia: Bishop says there’s no need.”

In recent weeks nearby papers the Wollondilly Advertiser, the Camden Advertiser and the Macquarie Advertiser in NSW have run a series of articles on Voluntary Assisted Dying Choice. Most of them have been in support. The one exception, as we might expect, is from the Catholic Bishop Ingham of Wollongong. His opinion piece may be found here. http://www.wollondillyadvertiser.com.au/story/4842391/euthanasia-bishop-says-theres-no-need/

This is my response.

So Bishop Ingham believes advances in palliative care and pain management should negate the argument for the option for a dying patient, facing futile unnecessary suffering, to have a choice to end that suffering.

He does not say so, but we can assume he is adhering to the Catholic doctrine that suffering can be redemptive.

Nurse Barnes disputes the Bishop’s claim!

My name is Jen Barnes and I am a nurse of 40 years. I’ve seen a lot of deaths and some of them have been far from ideal. Now I have a terminal illness. It’s an aggressive form of brain cancer and I know that it can lead to a very undignified death.

I don’t want to die. No-one wants to die.

Palliative care is very good but I know that it doesn’t work for everybody. If it comes to it, I will want another option. [Voluntary Assisted Dying]

It’s very important to me to have control of my destiny.

(Abridged) Source: http://www.stopvictorianssuffering.org.au/petition_jen_barnes

Equally important, the Bishop’s claim about palliative care is not supported by Palliative Care’s own data; Inpatients during the terminal phase of their terminal illness: 4.2% report severe distress from breathing problems, 4.6% severe distress from fatigue, and 2.6% report severe distress from pain.

Experience in Oregon, USA, with assisted dying choice for 20 years, shows repeatedly that paradoxically many patients live longer when given the ‘green light’ for assistance. It is palliative in its own right. It is voluntary – the patient has to rationally and repeatedly ask for this assistance.

The issue is all about choice. Not a choice between life and death, but a choice between two ways of dying. Bishop Ingham is entitled to not request assistance for himself, but should not be entitled to use his position to deny other Australians their right to choose.

Governor Jerry Brown of California sums up the option very succinctly. Gov. Brown is a committed Catholic, who had formerly trained as a Jesuit, and as Governor he actually had the right to veto a California Bill allowing voluntary assisted dying.

Instead, in a very rational and compassionate letter, he concluded –

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death.  I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”

Readers may note that Gov. Brown received support for signing this Bill from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, one of the world’s most esteemed religious leaders.

Ian Wood   11.8.2017

A plea to clergy of any faith who support Voluntary Assisted Dying Choice – Please endorse our Statement of Support now

Statement of Christian clergy support for Anne Gabrielides and the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017.

Rev. Dr Craig de Vos, B.V.Sc., Dip.P.S., B.Th.(Hons.), Ph.D, highly respected as a theologian in social aspects of the New Testament, is a practising Minister who holds a passion for social justice issues.

Rev. Dr De Vos says, “Our politicians, often guided by dogmatic religious beliefs, continue to deny the majority who want the choice of a death with dignity.”

“Some oppose voluntary euthanasia and voluntary assisted dying choice arguing that it’s wrong because it’s playing God.  Yet so is artificially prolonging life, and so is allowing people to suffer an horrific death when there are more compassionate alternatives.”

Rev. Dr de Vos endorsed the statement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who has said. “I believe in the sanctity of life. I know that we will all die and that death is a part of life. Terminally ill people have control over their lives, so why should they be refused control over their deaths? Why are so many instead forced to endure terrible pain and suffering against their wishes?”

Rev. Dr de Vos is Patron and member of the Executive of our group, Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia.

He concluded, “I have the utmost sympathy for Anne Gabrielides, who is facing an horrific death from rapidly progressing Motor Neurone Disease, and support her plea to NSW members of parliament to give people in her situation choice and control at the end stages of their illness. I hope these MPs will demonstrate true compassion and empathy for Anne when considering the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017.”

Signed

Rev. Dr Craig de Vos, B.V.Sc., Dip.P.S., B.Th.(Hons.), Ph.D,

PLEASE  message Ian Wood using the “contact” on our website if you are clergy of any faith who would be prepared to endorse this Statement

Endorsed by

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Etc…….

 

Authorised by Ian Wood

National co-ordinator and spokesperson for Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Villa 1, Hampton Mews, 4 Wills Place, Mittagong NSW  2575  AUSTRALIA

Website: www.Christiansforve.org.au

TO VIEW ANNIE’S VIDEO AND PLEA TO THE NSW MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT.

Anne (Annie) has rapidly progressing Motor Neurone Disease and her interview together with her family is truly heartrending.  Here> https://www.change.org/p/don-t-leave-me-trapped-in-a-dying-body-allow-me-to-die-peacefully

Please support Annie’s right to choose. A heart wrenching plea to our politicians.

Annie has extreme suffering as her Motor Neurone Disease is progressing rapidly.

Please view her video clip here.

Then sign her petition and share the link with your friends and ask them to sign too. As at June 3, Annie’s petition had 73,000 signatures.  Since making this video clip I understand Annie can no longer speak.

To really make a difference email the photo and link to your Member of Parliament and ask them to support compassionate legislation to give choice in dying for people such as Annie.

I could not help but contrast the traumatic emotional state of Annie compared with the peaceful and happy emotional state of Ed Ness, pictured here . 

and in this video link http://www.cheknews.ca/exclusive-ed-ness-dies-peacefully-in-doctor-assisted-death-324498/

Yet Annie is dying from terminal MND and Ed dying from terminal lung cancer. 

The crucial difference is that in Canada Ed now has the assisted dying choice. 

Both are short powerful videos that demonstrate visually to me what we are all fighting for.

Rose’s story. Today Tonight on 7, Adelaide. Why did all 24 MPs who voted against assisted dying choice decline to appear on camera?

Reporter Rosanna Mangiarelli, Today Tonight on 7 from Adelaide: It was late last year when we started this story, when the Death with Dignity bill [in South Australia] was defeated by the narrowest of margins, 23 votes to 24. We have waited since December for those most vocal about the topic to get back to us and last week all 24 who voted against the bill declined to talk on camera about the issue.  So tonight we bring you Rose’s story, who, when the euthanasia vote was lost, made a desperate decision to take matters into her own hands.

Link to Rose’s story

Ian Wood sums up: This must be one of the most moving 6 minutes of video I have ever viewed. I feel anguish for Rose and her futile suffering, sorrow for Bernie, and anger towards our politicians who continue to deny us compassionate choice in dying and refuse to accept the overwhelming evidence in support.

I have emailed the link with my comment to my local MP, Jai Rowell, and asked him to please heed the overwhelming evidence in support.  You may wish to email the link to your MP too?

Letter to Brad Hazzard, Minister for Health – Please have positive input into the NSW assisted dying draft legislation.

My email to our new NSW Minister for Health, sent 13.2.2017

Brad Hazzard
Minister for Health

Dear Mr Hazzard

Congratulations on your appointment as Health Minister for NSW.  It is encouraging that in the Daily Telegraph 6.2.2017 you are reported as recognising that more needs to be done for health matters in regional NSW.

You also stated that: “……often people depart this life in hospital…….”.  This is certainly true, as NSW Prof Ken Hillman has noted: “Up to 70% of people now die in acute hospitals, surrounded by well meaning strangers, inflicting all that medicine has to offer; often resulting in a painful, distressing and degrading end to their life.”

Research indicates that in fact 70 to 80% of terminal patients would prefer to die at home.  To enable this, adequately trained people are needed, plus the funding directed towards this service.  I imagine it could well be ‘cost effective’ compared with dying in an Intensive Care Unit or similar?  Ref: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-25/hundreds-access-program-of-end-of-life-care-at-home/6883162

Another issue relating to the terminally ill also attracts a similar level of 70 to 80% public support in NSW.  That of assisted dying choice for the terminally or hopelessly ill who are facing futile suffering.

A cross party group of NSW MPs is currently working on a draft Bill to enable this choice, and I respectfully urge you to please have positive input into this much needed legislation, with the aim of ensuring that the final draft is such that you as Minister for Health could publicly support and vote to pass it.  It does need to have a balance enabling access for the patients who wish to use it, and safeguards to protect from possible abuse.

There is now extensive data from other jurisdictions that proves this balance is possible.
– A wide ranging, in depth, Victorian Parliament Inquiry into End of Life Choices made Continue reading

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