RE: 'I Respect Both Sides Of Debate': Toole Still Undecided On Euthanasia Bill (Western Advocate, November 21).
Bathurst MP Paul Toole is right when he says that it is not possible for laws to remove pain and suffering.
Those who support voluntary assisted dying assume that people go to heaven when they die, but we have no way of knowing this. All religions have a heaven and hell of some description but where we end up is not for us to know.
As Shakespeare's Hamlet says in his famous "to be or not to be" soliloquy: "Death - the undiscovered country from which those bourn, no traveller returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have, then fly to others that we know not of."
Even extinction is a worse option. All we can know is that once we have died, there is no coming back.
Assisted suicide may actually increase pain and suffering.
Assisted suicide is cheap and easy and I am concerned that if adopted, there will be far less incentive to find cures for diseases, improve pain relief and provide better palliative care.
We already know that many elderly, sick, and handicapped people are subject to abuse, neglect, and lack of care.
Many of these people are already regarded as unwanted burdens on families and society.
Once assisted suicide is legalised, it will be too easy to try to coerce them into accepting suicide by false prognosis, lack of care, neglect, and abuse.
Eventually, as has happened overseas, many people are put to death without their consent. It would be very difficult to stop all this without allocating a lot of resources that would be better spent on improving care.
"Hell is paved with good intentions", as the saying goes.
We all want to reduce pain and suffering but we need to do this in a positive and constructive way. Otherwise, we will end up making things worse.
Marion Perry, Bathurst
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