July 3rd 2004

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: NZ Labour legislates to effect 'same-sex marriage'

EDITORIAL: Free Trade Agreement's tilted playing field

ECONOMICS: Setting pay to create new jobs

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Profile of Mark Latham's star new recruit

AGRICULTURE: Western farm subsidies rising, Australia's falling

OVERSEAS DEBT: Foreign debt grows as we live beyond our means

SAME-SEX COUPLES: Gays comprise 0.5 per cent of couples: parliamentary survey

FAMILY: Neurobiology says mothers play vital role

EDUCATION: The gender agenda

POLITICAL IDEAS: Distributism - the neglected tradition

COMMENT: The 'battlers' want jobs, not platitudes

EUROPE: New EU Constitution faces mounting opposition

STRAWS IN THE WIND : Moving the lounge chairs in the retirement village / Still picking up the pieces / Selective indignation

Flouting the law (letter)

Grameen Bank (letter)

Howard Government defended (letter)

Restoring Murray River communities' confidence (letter)

Reagan's wit (letter)

BOOKS: Target North Korea, by Gavan McCormack

BOOKS: An Imperfect God: George Washington, his slaves and the creation of America

Books promotion page

Flouting the law (letter)

by Dr David van Gend

News Weekly, July 3, 2004

Dr Nitschke despises the prudent and protective role of the law against assisted suicide. He wants death on demand, even when, as in Nancy Crick's case, the woman does not have cancer, and is not dying. She is simply acting out a role scripted by the Director, Nitschke, in a suicide spectacular made for TV.

A supporting cast of card-carrying euthanasia activists gathers round her bed to maintain the cult-like group pressure as she poisons herself, then they defy the law to do anything about it.

Nitschke treats the law with contempt, but the law against assisting suicide matters. The law matters because it aims to protect vulnerable people from the undue influence of others in choosing suicide.

I think of one patient of mine, a troubled lady with low self-esteem, who received a letter from her sister saying she was a waste of space and should be dead, and demanding the proceeds of her will. In this sad but real world of disordered relationships, the law can only hope to restrain such malicious influence by making it an offence to play any role in another's suicide.

Nitschke's spectator suicides are an ignorant and arrogant challenge to a just and necessary law - and like America's Dr Kevorkian, Nitschke needs to hear the Law speak the words, "Sir, consider yourself stopped".

Dr David van Gend,
Toowoomba, Qld

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