Flat White

It’s a strange, lonely world when you’re anti-euthanasia from experience

30 June 2019

2:31 PM

30 June 2019

2:31 PM

Being anti-euthanasia is most similar to being an outcast kid.  Not only is one mocked, shamed and personally attacked.  One is shut down and insolently dismissed.

In the past two weeks I’ve written two columns about my anti-euthanasia stance; one for Quadrant and the other for News Corps Rendezview site.

Instead of empathising with my ‘lived’ experience, the public decided to ‘school’ me in the logistics of euthanasia because I’m obviously too stupid — to understand my own experience and have learned from that.

Apparently, it’s a hateful act to be concerned about our vulnerable elderly.  Apparently, I should keep myself busy with more narcissistic pursuits such as uploading a selfie to Instagram or jumping on Facebook to comment on a photo of my mate’s lunch.

But concerning myself with Australia’s vulnerable elderly in wake of Victoria’s Voluntary Euthanasia laws — is apparently a cold and monstrous act that will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

The pro euthanasia brigade use three keywords in their argument on why they’re so self-righteously right about their ‘compassionate’ end of life law, (a description recently used by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, when talking to the press).

The three keywords are:  choices, freedom and dignity.  Bizarrely enough, that winning trifecta would describe the basic human rights I demand for our elderly. The other laughable part of the pro euthanasia brigade’s argument is their trust in the law to prevent malpractice.

When have laws ever prevented anything? Like, seriously? People still murder, still rape, still burgle, still embezzle.  ‘Voluntary’ euthanasia will be no different.  The law will be broken, much like every other law has been broken since Federation 118 years ago.

I very much doubt any anti-euthanasia folk living Down Under get off on the insufferable pain of terminally ill patients, unless they’re a psychopath, sadist or granny-killer.

People are anti-euthanasia for two primary reasons; religion or because of a personal experience they have lived through.

I am not a religious person but I definitely fall into category two.  I went through an experience with a family member that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  After the event, I told doctors, professors, lawyers, relatives and friends what I had seen.  But I was dismissed as a grieving young girl in my twenties who didn’t understand ‘end of life’ practices.

But the thing that gives me great comfort, is the emails I’ve received from other Australians this week — who read my articles. These ordinary men and women had similar experiences to me and have also been shut down when sharing their individual truths.

I know about pain, both mental and physical.  My brother died from an overdose at 34.  I nursed both my parents through terminal cancer.  I wouldn’t wish insufferable pain on anyone.

All I’m saying is that voluntary euthanasia is not black and white and the grey areas should be carefully scrutinised

Vanessa de Large is a freelance journalist, sex columnist and public speaker that divides her time between London and Melbourne. You can find more of her work here.

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