Martin Splits With Nitschke Over 'Suicide Pill" After Losing
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 15, 2005
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND--Euthanasia campaigner Lesley Martin has lost an appeal over her 15-month sentence for attempted murder, the New Zealand Herald reported Monday.
Martin was released in mid-December after serving 7 1/2 months of her sentence for helping her 69-year-old mother, Joy, to commit suicide. A former nurse, Martin was convicted of injecting her mother, who had rectal cancer, with an overdose of morphine in May 1999. Martin wrote about the death in her book "To Die Like A Dog".
Martin had appealed the sentence twice while in prison, but was rejected by the Parole Board both times because she would not acknowledge that what she did was wrong, and the board believed she continued to be a threat to the community.
In a related story, Martin has apparently broken ties with former ally Philip Nitschke, the director of the pro-euthanasia group Exit International.
Martin told the Sunday Star Times that she cannot support Nitschke's efforts to create a "suicide pill".
Nitschke is arranging to have 30 people, age 75, come together in the Australian outback to take a "suicide pill" in June. The event is designed to draw attention to his efforts to make assisted suicide legal in New Zealand and elsewhere.
"That's a cause of concern," said Martin. "Dr. Nitschke's intentions are going down the path of technology rather than trying to instrument legislative changes."
"I would be very concerned about traveling to a remote location and making a lethal dose of medication -- that's not going to help people."
Martin said she still plans to work on efforts to change New Zealand's law regarding assisted suicide.
In 2003, New Zealand's parliament rejected a bill that would have made voluntary euthanasia legal.
Several disability rights groups around the world have opposed efforts to legalize assisted suicide. They argue that doing so would essentially make it "open season" for people with disabilities and anyone else who is considered undesirable or a "burden" on society -- particularly at a time when the cost of health care is high. Despite legal safeguards, many of those who have been assisted to kill themselves have not been in the final stages of terminal illness.
"Martin shuns Dr Death's 'peaceful pill' project" (Sunday Star Times)