Helpful points to make in your ‘Letters to the Editor’ re common misunderstandings in euthanasia from Paul Russell, Director, HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide www.noeuthanasia.org.au –
“In the Weekend Australian, Christopher Pearson included in his regular column a finely crafted reflection on why euthanasia law is wrong: Test of conviction on a life and death issue.
“In today’s edition (Monday Jan 3) the letters to the editor section featured five responses attacking Pearson. In each response there’s a fundamental error either of fact or by misrepresentation of Pearson’s salient points.
1. Robert Crawford (Nambour QLD) implied that Pearson had said that all pain can be controlled. He did not. He correctly observed that modern palliative care medicine had substantially diminished the issue of pain in end-of-life care.
2. Ina Borger (Marion SA) played the ‘religious sectarian card’ and suggested that ‘the people should decide’ using a ‘personal story’ of a Dutch relative juxtaposed to ‘hanging or cutting your wrists’ making the false suggestion that Pearson had argued for such gruesome ends.
3. Peter Brown (Byron Bay) seems to want to discredit Pearson’s entire argument based on one line about suicide, wondering whether palliative care is really ‘readily available’. Standard tactic of the pro-death movement: sell fear.
4. Clive Huxtable (Beaconsfield WA) claims that Pearson had said that suicide methods were legal and readily available. He did not.
5. Ron Gray (Kalinga QLD) plays the sectarian card and also paints a rosy picture of the Netherlands’ death culture.
“In my observation, not one of these correspondents attempted a rebuttal of Pearson’s main arguments. The respondents may be genuine – suggesting that their replies simply pick up on one of their own issues OR they may be campaigners themselves for whom direct debate is a distraction from the point they want to make and something that they rarely engage in.
“Action Please: We need as many letters to the editor as possible to ensure that our side of the debate gets the same sort of coverage in tomorrow’s edition as their side did today. Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and include in the text your full name and postal address as well as a contact phone number.”
Thank you, Paul, for this instructive way of engaging in ‘Letters to the Editor’ and engaging conversation.