The Liberal Party will not support assisted suicide in Norway.
However, the party believes that dying people should have the right to terminate their medical treatment.
The party’s position became clear after a long and heated debate on Saturday when the party was to adopt a new program of party principles.
It ended with a majority of delegates saying “no” to allowing euthanasia or active euthanasia.
The debate ensued during the discussion about whether the individual should have the right to make choices about their own life – and death.
“This is probably the most troublesome debate,” Jarl W. Alnæs from Oslo Venstre said. He ended up being on the “yes” side of the debate.
“We force people to go through terrible suffering over a long period of time. There is no adequate relief for everything. Today, it’s the wallet that decides whether you can end your life,” he said.
The program committee was also divided.
Sofie Høgestøl was also in the “yes” camp.
“Everything that is important is difficult. I do not want my conscience to overwhelm the conscience of others. I don’t judge anyone for the choices they make. But it should be just that, the individual’s choice,” she emphasized.
One of the strongest contributions came from Margrethe Pral Reusch from Viken Venstre, who suffers from a severe illness
She had an urgent plea for the national assembly.
“Let me die when I think enough is enough,” she said.
“This is not a choice between life and death, but between two different ways of dying,” she added.
The “no” camp
Both outgoing party leader Trine Skei Grande and several other prominent party members warned against opening the door for assisted suicide.
“It was the Liberal Party that removed the ban on assisted suicide. But that does not mean that it is the state’s job to help someone take their own life,” Grande emphasized.
“Ultimately, my great concern is that we are opening up an area we should not enter. If we open the door to active euthanasia, it may not be possible to close it again,” former Liberal Party leader Odd Einar Dørum said.
Before the summer, the Liberal Party’s national board also recommended saying “no” to active euthanasia.
Several pointed out that instead of helping people die, the state’s role should be to ensure everyone gets the best and most pain-relieving treatment possible.
“I want the Liberal Party to say “yes” to active life support,” nurse Anne Margrethe Larsen from Agder Venstre said.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today