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Hanson comments on ‘right to die’ ill informed
Issued: 14 February 2001

Spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations, Alison Hope, today criticised Pauline Hanson for her reported comments that the 'right to die' should be left to individuals to decide and should be settled by referendum.

Ms Hanson referred to those who 'end up being a vegetable only kept alive by a machine' and to 'doctors using us as guinea pigs, that we have no right to say "take that machine off us, give us the right to die in dignity"'.

"Withdrawing useless or burdensome treatment is not euthanasia", Ms Hope said.

"Ceasing useless treatment for a person who has no prospect of recovery is just part of good medical treatment.  Where treatment can no longer bring about recovery, the direction of treatment simply changes to concentrate on making the patient comfortable in his or her last days.

"Euthanasia is quite different.

"Euthanasia is about killing, whether by lethal injection or by withholding of basic human needs such as food or water", Ms Hope said.  "The intent to kill is central."

"Unfortunately, Ms Hanson appears not to understand this important distinction and is misleading the public as a result."

Ms Hope suggested that Ms Hanson's preference for a referendum decision on euthanasia was a cop-out.  "This is what we elect politicians to do – to responsibly debate and decide these issues."

Media contact: Alison Hope, spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations, 02 6253 3100