Let me first express my sadness over the death of Lecretia Seales. She was clearly a fine women who contributed greatly to society and then showed immense courage not only in facing a terminal illness, but with taking legal action concerning the end of her life. Whatever one thinks of the cause, her bravery is amazing. I know what it is like to lose loved ones way too early, and my condolences go out to all concerned. Nothing in this blog is personal to her, may the Lord bless all those connected.
With that said, and not wishing to speak ill in any way of her, I find the whole thing strange. Her case began on Monday 25 May. Her desire was that her doctor could help her die, but then not face charges for doing so. The case lasted two days, until Wednesday 27 May. The judge Justin David Collins reserved his ruling but stated he would work through the Queen’s Birthday Weekend to come to a ruling. Clearly, there was a good possibility that she would die very soon anyway. As it turned out, he made his ruling on Thursday 4 June, about a week after the trial, and early the next morning, Friday 5 June, she died of natural causes. When I heard of her death, reading between the lines, the ruling must have gone against her. This was confirmed on Friday.
I find the whole thing a little strange. First, Lecretia was clearly capable of taking her own life in the weeks leading up to the trial. She appeared on TV during the period of the trial and was clearly sufficiently well to do so. I am not sure why she needed help to do it. I think suicide is a wrong option, but I understand people doing it. I don't condemn those who do, God is the one who decides. So, if she wanted to take her own life, I am not sure why she didn’t go ahead and do it? There are countless ways of doing so. Indeed, people do it all the time. I am intrigued that people in such a situation want to bring others into the process.
Secondly, if Lecretia was so close to dying and was receiving palliative care (as is reported), why go to court to accelerate something that was coming soon anyway? And why the rush to make a ruling? After all, she was nearly at the point of death.
Thirdly, if the law was applied, it was absolutely certain her desire that her doctor be free of culpability if he helped her take her life would fail. So, with the time frame in mind, why the whole thing?
With all this in mind, it seems to me that, despite the denials from some in her family, the whole thing was carefully orchestrated to get euthanasia back on Parliament’s agenda. The whole thing was political from those closely involved including the doctor and judiciary.
I remain implacably against euthanasia in the sense that one person actively takes another person’s life or facilitates another person doing it. Passive euthanasia is appropriate—making a person comfortable at their end. There is also a time to switch of the machines and stop the treatment. I should know, I have been involved in three such situations in our family. They are tough and horrible, but sometimes the treatment is no longer bringing healing but hindering what is clear—it is time for a person to die. So, you do not take their life, but stop hindering their death and make them comfortable as they die. But to actively take another’s life directly or as an accessory is another thing. This is a form of murder.
In this case it seems to me that the person in mind did not need assistance. As is most often the case in such situations, she had ample opportunity to hasten her own death or allow nature to take its course as it did.
I hope NZ does not go down the track of allowing active euthanasia. I don’t think we should have a referendum on it, such things are not decided by democracy. If the legislation needs updating, we should update it. However, we should not allow active euthanasia, it will create a huge raft of problems. We already kill enough unborn children, let’s not give ourselves the pretext to kill the disabled, terminally ill, and elderly. Rather, we should care for them until their time comes. Or do we lack the courage and time to do this?