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Former euthanasia advocate speaks out about dangers of End of Life Choice Act

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Claire Freeman was in a car accident at 17 and became a tetraplegic. She became very suicidal.

"There is this underlying assumption that people like me aren’t of value" she says. "I was extremely suicidal. The resounding feedback I got, it was always, ‘You’ve got a broken neck, totally understand why you’d want to kill yourself’."

After four attempts to commit suicide, Claire was recommended by New Zealand health professionals to travel to Switzerland where she would legally be able to access assisted dying.

"I was in such a dark space that it seemed like a really good idea. I was very ready to go through with it."

Terminal, Claire required life-saving neck surgery in 2015. It went tragically wrong and so she wasn’t able to travel to Switzerland. The outcome was Claire was offered a lot more support and with that support her quality of life increased.

"I’m extremely grateful assisted dying wasn’t an option because I would have taken it and I would be dead" she says.

"For decades I was very pro-euthanasia but in hindsight it was just because I wasn’t coping with my life."

Now however, Claire Freeman, who has featured on the flyers which were delivered nationwide, and last night, on Newshub’s ‘Euthanasia Debate’ hosted by Patrick Gower is very much opposed to the End of Life Choice Act.

"I don’t want it as an option for myself and I certainly don’t want this as an option for some extremely vulnerable New Zealanders."

"People often think there’s a clear line between disability and terminal illness, but there’s not. Disabled people will be put at risk with this Act and that’s why I’m asking people to vote no."

Claire is working to contribute significantly to further public understanding by using her PHD in critical analysis of the perceptions and reality of disability.

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