WFRtDS President Sean Davison sent out a a media release (see below) about Wellington (NZ) police that may have used an alcohol checkpoint to gather information about elderly women attending euthanasia meetings. The women had been attending an Exit International meeting on a Sunday afternoon early this month in the Lower Hutt suburb of Maungaraki. As they left, about 4pm, all were pulled over at the checkpoint and – before being asked to blow into the machine – were made to give their names and addresses, and show their driver’s licences. In the days that followed, at least 10 of them received visits from police officers, asking questions about their association with Exit, a pro-euthanasia group.
PRESS STATEMENT SEAN DAVISON, President WFRtDS
The police action involving the targeting of elderly people whom they believe have imported medication to end their lives is sad and regrettable. They have also raided the houses of elderly people whom they believe have obtained party balloon helium as a means to commit suicide. This appears to be an orchestrated campaign with political overtones, coming as it does when the parliamentary Health Select Committee is considering public submissions on a law change.
If these elderly people had committed real crimes, I believe the police should leave no stone unturned in bringing them to justice, but on this occasion I feel the investigations are misdirected and their resources could be better utilised.
Desperate people who resort to illegally obtaining medication from abroad in order to guarantee a dignified and peaceful death are usually elderly and have lived a full and colourful life; these people are now at a point where their suffering is so great they wish to have control over how and when they die. In some cases they simply want to know they have the medication available ‘just in case’ they need it. They should not have to go to the desperate lengths of importing medication from Mexico and China to have a peaceful death. They should not have to suffer the fear of being raided by the police and facing imprisonment
Their desperation to obtain medication to end their lives highlights the need to change the law to allow for assisted dying in certain circumstances.
On behalf of the World Federation of right-to-die societies, I urge the New Zealand government and the police to refrain from victimising and intimidating elderly people who simply want the basic human right of a dignified death.
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