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Desperate Remedies

Taj MahalIt’s a big day tomorrow, and we have been looking forward to it now for weeks. Lecretia would like to be in the courtroom for the beginning of the proceedings, but I have my doubts as to whether that will be possible. I am sure she will be there for part of the day at least, but as to when and for how long it’s a little hard to say.

We are having a lovely weekend. Some close friends of Lecretia’s have flown in from around the country and from Australia to be with her. This afternoon she’s having an afternoon tea with some of her girlfriends and her brother and father will be here for dinner this evening too. She’ll be having an early night to make sure she is well rested for the coming week.

It’s been disappointing to see some of the recent media coverage of our opponents’ views so close to the case. Sadly, Lecretia’s opponents are trying to turn this into something bigger than it is, employing tactics like the slippery slope argument to prey on people’s fears. It will be good to see these claims subjected to the scrutiny of the courtroom where they’re unlikely to hold much water.

Canada tried a “slippery slope” argument in Carter v. Canada. There was a whole section debunking it in the judgment, but this paragraph from the judgment best summarises the Supreme Court of Canada’s position (para 120):

Finally, it is argued that without an absolute prohibition on assisted dying, Canada will descend the slippery slope into euthanasia and condoned murder.  Anecdotal examples of controversial cases abroad were cited in support of this argument, only to be countered by anecdotal examples of systems that work well.  The resolution of the issue before us falls to be resolved not by competing anecdotes, but by the evidence.  The trial judge, after an exhaustive review of the evidence, rejected the argument that adoption of a regulatory regime would initiate a descent down a slippery slope into homicide.  We should not lightly assume that the regulatory regime will function defectively, nor should we assume that other criminal sanctions against the taking of lives will prove impotent against abuse.

But wider issues aside, when it comes down to it, Lecretia’s case is about an ill woman who has been failed by a history of successive governments who have refused to deal with the issue, and who is now seeking peace through the only path available to her that has any chance of giving her relief in the time she has: the courts.

Win or lose, we will achieve some certainty for Lecretia. We will know whether she can lawfully choose not to suffer if things become unbearable, by requesting assistance from a physician to die, or whether she must suffer against her will to satisfy an interpretation of the law that entrenches its inadequacy for dealing with the nuances of cases like hers. We will find out if the law allows Lecretia to have the choice she wants under current legislation, or whether the law needs to change so that people like Lecretia don’t need to suffer unnecessarily.

We have been told the hearing should run for three days, which is going to be quite exhausting for Lecretia, but she is determined to be there as much as she can. Justice Collins has indicated that he will be reaching a decision as quickly as he is able, which is a great relief to us.

This all comes as we received news earlier in the week that Lecretia’s blood tests indicated she could safely resume chemotherapy if she really wanted to. Lecretia has opted to resume treatment, despite an admission from her oncologist that it likely won’t make any difference to her prognosis. Nevertheless, she is determined to live and to fight her cancer as much as her body allows her to, so she restarted her anti-cancer drugs on Wednesday this week. She wants to be here for her mother’s 60th birthday next year, and for our 10th wedding anniversary. She wants to see the Taj Mahal.

It’s hard to see how someone so desperate and determined to live could be seen by the law as the same as a hypothetical suicide who, despite having no terminal illness, wants to die. But as it happens, we will find out whether there is a distinction over the next few weeks.

We’ll see you in court.

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15 Comments

  1. I have been following your story through mutual friends and your page. My thoughts, admiration and love are with you Lecretia, your amazing husband; and your family, very much – and especially this week. I don’t know where I personally stand on this issue and don’t think I could unless I was in your shoes. What I do know is that you are strong, brave, and an incredible inspiration. Much love from Tauranga.

  2. Good luck for the proceedings for the following week, my thoughts and love are with you all and I look forward to hearing the outcome.

  3. Good Luck and heartfelt love goes out to you both, I’m with you on this legal battle. As we all should have a choice, they say we are in charge of our own
    destiny…. What bullshit………..I only hope you get the outcome you want.
    Love and Luck Lecretia and Matt.

  4. Best wishes for a Humane and Empathetic outcome, an outcome we would all wish and deserve in your sad situation, how brave you are!

  5. Good luck Lecretia, Matt and family for the hearing this week. Thinking of you all with much love xxx

  6. I have been following your progress Lucretia through this blog written by your very caring and supportive husband. I wish you the very best possible outcome from your days in court. This will not be easy but Justice Collins is a fair minded individual and hopefully will do the right thing and allow you the dignity in death that we all hope for. Love to you and yours.

    • I was given nine days to live in 1996. I am so sorry that Lecretia is going through this, but admire her ability to reach out.

      I have been a palliative carer of four glorious people. I have almost died several times

  7. Thinking of you both heaps. Wishing you the best of luck in court and really hope it goes your way. Lots of love Sarah

  8. Wishing you all the best with your court case Lecretia, I really do hope common sense prevails and you are able to achieve the outcome you wish for. As for all the anti-euthanasia groups eager to have their say and all their talk about setting precedents, clearly they have never had a loved one in a situation such as yours.

    Nobody who has witnessed someone they love waste away before their eyes would ever deny their loved one the right to choose, the choice you are seeking. I only wished my Father could have had that choice because I know what he would have chosen. Best of luck to you Lecretia, take care and I hope the outcome is the one you are seeking.