New Zealand Pro-Life Advocates Will Keep Fighting to Ban Euthanasia Book

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 25, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Zealand Pro-Life Advocates Will Keep Fighting to Ban Euthanasia Book

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 25
, 2008

Wellington, New Zealand ( — Pro-life advocates in New Zealand pledge to continue fighting to ban a suicide instruction book authored by Australia’s "Doctor Death," Philip Nitschke. Their renew efforts comes after the Film and Literature Review Board denied their request last week.

In February 2007, the Australian government banned the manual, the Peaceful Pill Handbook, which tells readers of various suicide options including how to manufacture or obtain and use various barbiturates.

Critics say it encourages readers to make their own drugs that can’t be monitored for their safety or distribution.

Right to Life of New Zealand had wanted the board to issue an order preventing sale of the book until chief censor Bill Hastings had a chance to issue a ruling.

A hearing is scheduled for August for a review of Hasting’s original decision allowing the book’s sale.

Right to Life spokesman Ken Orr told the Dominion Post he was disappointed by the decision but said his group would make its case at the hearing.

"Dr Nitschke is showing complete contempt for the censorship laws in Australia and New Zealand," Orr said previously. "We’re quietly confident that the board will agree with our submission and classify it as objectionable and have it banned."

The Office of Film and Literature Classification lifted the ban after it was revised to make it so it had to be sold under seal in the same way as adult magazines.

Nitschke told the newspaper he was delighted by the decision.

"We are thrilled the injunction has been turned down. It gives us till August to get the book distributed," he said.

He plans to hold suicide workshops in Dunedin and Christchurch next month where he plans to make copies of the suicide book available. In Dunedin he has to find a new venue after the Kingsgate Hotel canceled his event due to protests and opposition.

The book, which is currently sold in the United States and Canada, gets its name from Nitschke, who was paid thousands of dollars by the Hemlock Society, to develop the "peaceful pill." It’s a suicide concoction that is designed to allow ready access to suicide for those who live in countries where assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal.

Nitschke now says that the peaceful pill resulted from elderly people pooling their resources to help create it. But he has worked on the project, funded by euthanasia advocates, for years.

Nitschke has come under fire for his various actions promoting assisted suicide and euthanasia and for saying the pill should be available in supermarkets. He also has supported assisted suicide for "troubled teens."

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