Opponents of Lecretia Seales’ court case to clarify the law on doctor-assisted death say it would be the start of a slippery slope if she were to succeed.
The terminally ill Wellington lawyer’s application begins in the High Court at Wellington on Monday.
Treatment of her brain tumour has ended and she is having palliative care, but believes that might not continue to meet her needs. She wants the option of having her doctor help her to die if her suffering is intolerable.
That option would likely give her a longer, more peaceful life than if her only way to end suffering was to take her own life while still able to do so unaided, her claim says.
Seales, 42, says the court case is about her and her circumstances only.
The attorney-general, who is the defendant in the case, disagrees and so does an interest group, Care Alliance, which has been allowed a limited say in Seales’ case.
Solicitor-General Mike Heron, QC, representing the attorney-general, said if Seales’ claim were accepted, it would have implications well beyond her case and would apply to all who have a terminal illness and think their suffering is intolerable.
“The attorney-general’s position is that the conventional understanding of the Crimes Act – which precludes physician-assisted dying – must continue to apply unless and until it is altered by Parliament.”
Care Alliance says that, if Seales is successful, overseas experience suggests it would be the start of a slippery slope that would put vulnerable lives at risk. [Read more…]