After marrying a Hobartian, I have lived the last 50 years in Tasmania, raised my family here and watched my grandchildren develop into teenagers. Tassie is a lovely place of live and it’s difficult to contemplate living anywhere else.
After my mother became bedridden from a debilitating stroke, she developed seizures, and suffered pneumonia. For six years I visited her every day in the nursing home where she received wonderful care.
I also cared for my beloved husband who was initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but this diagnosis was later changed to multiple system atrophy. He had difficulty feeding and drinking, and suffered muscular breakdown which meant he needed a walker and later a wheelchair, as well as homecare for bathing. In the end he became incontinent and suffered terminal delirium due to kidney failure. He had about 10 years of reasonable health before the more serious symptoms began to manifest. I would never wish this illness upon anyone, but both my husband and I would also never have contemplated assisted dying or euthanasia.
I am concerned about the End-of-Life Choice (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill 2020 because in other countries that have euthanasia, the lives of the vulnerable could be terminated even if they don’t wish to end their lives. Euthanasia becomes commonplace. No safeguards are sufficient to eliminate the risks to the vulnerable.
When my husband was dying I said to the doctor that I didn’t believe in euthanasia. Even though I didn’t want him to suffer a lot, and I didn’t want him popped off either. The experience of caring for a loved one who is terminally ill was an opportunity to help him carry his suffering.
They are not old farm dogs to be put out of their misery when they are no longer useful. They are human beings with dignity and value. They have looked after us and now it’s time for us to look after them. Our parents cared for us when we were totally dependent upon them as children. Now it’s time for us to care for them as they become increasingly dependent upon us.
It’s a contradiction that the government spends thousands of dollars on suicide prevention on the one hand, and on the other, we are now faced with a parliamentary debate to legalise suicide.
I hope Parliament rejects this bill, and that people come to their senses and realise the value of human life. Civilised society doesn’t kill off their elderly because they become a burden.
* Persons real name has not been used as they wish to remain anonymous.