ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “this legislation could place Aids sufferers, other terminally ill patients and the elderly under unfair pressure to end their lives for financial reasons and to make life easier for family members.”
Dudley was speaking to Benjamin Moshatama on his programme, African Dialogue on Channel Africa (DStv 802) produced byTumelo Zulu, in a debate on the topic of euthanasia as it relates to COPE MP Deidre Carter’s private Members Bill which has been gazetted and is available on their website.
Dudley said that “former euthanasia supporter, Professor Theo Boer, told the House of Lords in the UK - a few years ago - not to make the same mistake as the Netherlands. Dr Boer, an academic in the field of ethics, who used to argue that a good euthanasia law would produce relatively low numbers of deaths, now states very emphatically that the very existence of a euthanasia law turns assisted suicide from a last resort into a normal procedure.”
The doctor, a member of a review committee that monitors euthanasia deaths, has said that euthanasia is now becoming so prevalent in the Netherlands, that it is ‘on its way to becoming a default mode of dying - for cancer patients’.
He has said that he was ‘wrong - terribly wrong, in fact’ to have believed regulated euthanasia would work. ‘I used to be a supporter of the Dutch law...but now, with 12 years of experience, I take a very different view’.
Dudley said that “Professor Boer is not alone as these observations and arguments have been made by other professionals who have seen the consequences.
This is a matter which will very seriously impact on communities and families in South Africa. The ACDP has been reminding members of Parliament about these realities since 1996 when the first End of Life Draft Bill appeared. We will continue to warn of the dangers as we understand them.”
Deidre Carter of COPE argued that her bill would not provide for assisted suicide - only for people to decide if they are kept alive or not. A panelist on the show - a South African doctor - responded that the law already allows for people to make their own decision with regard to medical procedures and treatment and are free to decline if they wish. In his opinion this legislation is therefore unnecessary. He also said he felt the legislation undermined the Oath he took as a doctor.
Dudley says “the integrity of the medical profession is once again at stake and the ACDP believes that this legislation also forces us to once again apply our minds to the timeless issue of sanctity of life”.
“The ACDP urges the public to make their voices heard by making written submissions”, Dudley added.
ISSUED BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
14 August 2018