One of the highlights of Monday nights is watching ABC’s Q and A panel show ‘with my friends’. ‘With’ of course, is a relative term. They’re not ‘with’ me in the living room – but tweeting along on Twitter or commenting on the proceedings on Facebook.
On Monday, 19 September, an elderly man in the Q and A audience raised the subject of euthanasia. What followed was an extraordinary recital of urban legends, conjecture, misinformation and common gossip about what would happen (and what, allegedly, has happened) when voluntary euthanasia (VE) is legalised.
After the show, my friend Dr David Leaf contacted me on Facebook. As a highly experienced, primary care doctor who deals with life and death issues every day, and as a board member of Dying with Dignity NSW, David was furious. Frankly, I was rather ‘hot under the collar’ myself. These allegations had been aired and not one person had refuted them. They were now floating out there in television land as ‘facts about voluntary euthanasia’; ‘facts’ we both knew were patently false.
The conversation quickly turned to what should ‘we’ do about it?
(That’s what I love about my friends. They’re not the sort who say ‘someone should do something about that’, they’re the sort who say, ‘what can we do about it?’)
So, David and I decided to write an article correcting the claims made about VE on Q and A. Generously, Scott Stephens from the ABC’s Religion and Ethics portal agreed to publish it.
It’s been published tonight and David and I, now all fired up and excited about our new writing partnership, are already planning our next article.
Here’s an extract from “Activist ‘dead wrong’ on euthanasia”:
“In a recent episode of ABC’s Q and A, disability rights activist, John Moxon, paints a frightening picture of societies in which voluntary euthanasia (VE) is legal.
Speaking from the audience, Moxon, a quadriplegic, warns that the VE legislation currently before the South Australian parliament:
“… will enable a doctor to kill somebody, on the judgement of the doctor alone, that the person’s life is not worth living.”
After the show, Moxon’s anti-euthanasia group, ProLiving, posted the following comment on their website:
“ProLiving supporter John Moxon gave a good account of a disability perspective on the issue of euthanasia in the ABC program Q & A on 19th September.”
This is alarming. If the ‘disability perspective’ on VE is based on the kind of information disseminated by Mr Moxon on Q and A, people with disabilities are being grossly misinformed. ” [Read more]