'Stay out of my life and my choice' - euthanasia advocate

  • 20/02/2018

New Zealand could lead the world on euthanasia if it passes the End of Life Choice Bill, which is about to face its second reading in Parliament 

Euthanasia advocate Bobbie Carroll found out 16 months ago that she has a form of blood cancer, which she says was "tough and sad".

"We were in shock, we were devastated and horrified," she told The Project.

She admits she might not even opt for euthanasia, but wants to have the choice. 

"This is all about 'I own me'. Personal responsibility, personal choice. 

"Now I'm not saying you or anyone else should be euthanased, I'm asking you to stay out of my life and my choice, and let me make it."

It's an emotionally charged topic and people are passionate on both sides of the fence.

For Mathew Jansen, whose father died of dementia, euthanasia is not the answer.

"What we need to do is hold people in love," he says. "Walk that journey, which is a very difficult journey, with care and love."

Even those in the medical profession are split on the issue. While just 37 percent of doctors support assisted dying in New Zealand, 67 percent of nurses support it.  

Ms Carroll says her loved ones "totally" support the Bill, including her grandchildren and her partner.

"It's very sad, but you need to talk about these things. This is New Zealand, we need the conversation."

There are fears that the legislation could be abused and people could be exploited, but Ms Carroll believes the strict "safety gaps" of the Bill, which defines who would be eligible for assisted dying, would help to prevent that.

"The biggest fear people have is elder abuse," she says. "There's elder abuse happening now, elder abuse will continue. 

"We'll never get rid of elder abuse, but I believe that we'll significantly reduce it."

The Bill is heading for a select committee and once people have voiced their concerns, it will be up to the Government to vote on whether the law should be passed.

"We are an adult country now, this is an adult conversation," says Ms Carroll. "Everyone needs to have their say."

The tide of public opinion is behind a vote for change - but it's easy to click 'yes' or 'no' on a poll. It's much harder for an MP to weigh up life and death, and to make the choice for all of us.

Watch the interview on The Project above.